may not be reprinted without
Robert "Gap" Webl
Clarence Be id
Jean Tyre 11
Tom Van Horn
C. L, Weatherford
Jeanette L« G ruber
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Does It Have To Do With Me?. •••.»..•••..• ••.•••• 2
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Bobert 5, Gap" Webb
fom Van Horn
Judy Bel field
Linda S^ iweitaer
Jeane-ite L. .Grub®**
Hobert "Gap" Webb
Tom Van Horn'
C, L. Weatherford
Jave O f Bri#n
iobert "Gap" Webb
■von Van Horn
• ^nniiar Janes
: 'u©an -ap&ncic
: Ileen Darin
Tom Van Horn
Clipper Ship . 15
Working Out . . . • • ... .15
A Sight For Sore Minds . , 15
My Closet Shelf 16
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%© Bus Ride-
I don ' 1 need no microwave
Don f t want to fry my cat
I don't need no microwave
Don't think that is where it's at
Know I s d zap my daddy's pacemaker
Got a baby* I'd probly bake her
I don^t wmt no microwave
Ma's got &
I don't need no microwave
Judy Bel field
TO RICHARD GERE
Let me go
I need to *
To break. I this
just another flash in the pan.
to make some ©parks
in my skillet?
BEING BALD MM LOVING EVERY MINUTE OP IT
If I had one wish, it would be for
everyone to be bald. Believe it or not,
It would be fantastic, Sit and think
about it for a while. Think of the good
points , the bad points, everything.
The one thing we'd save would be
money. Think of all the "things" we
use on our hair. For instance: comb,
brush, blow dryer, curling iron, hair spray.
Then we have shampoo, conditioner, and
finishing rinse. Ladies get ready, no more
bobby pins, head bands, hair nets, wigs,
combs, barrettes, cuts, bleaches, streaks,
and perms. Everyone would be natural 1
Never again would people be ashamed of their
loss of hair. The oupeee, transplants,
and wigs will be in the past. Skin would be
Besides saving. money, we would al
save time. Nor more washing and drying
just stick the pie head under the show*
towel dry s and go. Another thing we
could all do would be sleep later ( Gre.
Oh, how I'd love it. Everyone won'
be cleaner. The dandruff would disappe
The lice would die. No more greasies
zitz on our foreheads.
People will look more at our pere
ality, rather than the fact that we ar
a redhead, yellowhead, brownhead, bla<
head, or grayhead. The probl&as of
being hated because of your greasy tb
hair will no longer be around. Every
would be beautifully bald.
Think of the working world*, Hair
has a lot to do with it. If everyone
Being Bald, continued
was bald we would never find another hair
in our soup. (well?) Waitresses would not
have to wear hairnets, and professional wo-
men will not have to tie back their hair.
Think about the people who are already
bald. Yul Brynner seems to be doing pretty
well; so does Telly Savalas. What people
don't realize is that they are not natural-
ly bald, they love being bald. They love
it just as I would only if my wish came
If you wake up one morning and
look out your window and see a bunch of
reflecting heads, you know my wish cam".
true. Way don't you help me with my
wish and start the fad ... get the
shaver and shave away. Skin is in!
3e beautifully bald!
Robert "Gar>" Webb
WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH I-SE7
Len Over cash
THE .CHANGED MH
He went under again, shut off from
the sun and sky and cool air. He felt
himself weakening. With his feet, he
searched frantically for -the ledge he knew
must be beneath him, but wasn't. Without
it to push against, he couldn't get back
to the surface. He sank deeper into the
watery darkness, slowly dissolving and be-
coming a part of the murky water of the
Roger Harmon always woke , sweating
and feeling panic, at that exact moment in
tke nightmare. Ho never reach ed the flat
limestone shore as he managed to do when it
really happened. For come reason, the
ledge wasn't there in the nightmare and
he kept going down. Tw pifcy years ago, if
he hadn't been so exhausted, he could have
walked to chore. The water wac only four-
feet dQQ-p at that spot. i
When he f inall}/ grabbed ,tho gritty
limestone shelf and bagan pulling himself
out of the water, he listened for Kenny.
Expecting to see him break the surface,
tired and angry, screaming about boing so
stupid and almost drowning %hem both. But
the water was calm, ..rippled only by his own
movements and the gentle August wind
that »lew through the old, long-abandoned,,
limestone quarry. ■ <,
Roger glanced at his watch. Seven
o'clock. Still early evening.
. "Chrdsti" he muttered, "Now I'm having
that dream in the daytime."
He pushed himself off the couch and
went to the refrigerator for a »eer. The
last can rattled around in the crisper as
he pulled it open. Roger frowned, sudden-
ly realizing that he'd gone through more
than a case here at home. Plus whatever
he drank across the street at Bill's Bar.
If the nightmare didn't stop soon, he'd go
Roger pulled the tab and walked to the
window in his third- floor studio apartment.
He could look »ut over the sprawling? city
in which he'd lived all his life. He
Now, right now
I'm sitting in this room
Like everyone else
even though not on the same channel
Trying to be attentive to something
I think lacks anything of
interest to me.
I'm basically here, struggling to
survive this transition I'm present
Set backs, pent up, strung out
laid back, know all and couldn't
care much more to deal.
How, I know I relate in this
sense of doing so
I know I can respond to
anything common to my experiences
still picking my mind, in a quest
So what does all the seemly viable
conversation and encounte rs have tc
do with me?
Writing_.jLs__only stating questions.
hated it. As he hated much of his own
life since that day twenty years ago.
He considered himself a failure, barely
making it through high school, flunking
out of college, then Nam, and finally,
his hasty and doomed marriage to Brenda.
He was losing his two sons too. Three
years of being with them only on week-
ends had cut through too many of the
bindings that once held them together.
Roger had always kupt the hope of
reconciliation, but last week, Brenda
.had told him she was getting
r.&marri^d. To a surguGn. A successful
Deep inside Roger knew he should
have drowned that day; not Kenny. That''
why the dreair. was recurring again.
Across the street, the ne»n light
in the wirfdow of Bill's Bar went on.
Tomorrow was Saturday, the weekend his
two sons spent with him. He seldom
drank when they were here. But the boy
weren't here tonight. He quickly fini-
shed his beer and left.
Bill's Bar was an easy place to
suspend time and get quiotly drunk. N«
The Changed Man, continued
bands had ever played here, so there were
no loud noises. Just a large color TV
suspended in a corner over the bar.
Soger felt a gentle tap on his shoul-
der and turned to see Bob Larson, flaming
red hair stylishly combed, smiling down
"•rirk.ing alone? Bad sign, Rog."
Roger shrugged as Bob slid int« the
stool beside him.
"One of those nights, huh?" Bob said.
Roger had known Bob for two years.
They had lived in the same apartment com-
plex. Bob was divorced to*.
"Ex-wife trouble? :r Bob inquired, or-
dering a glass of beer.
"Sorta," Roger said. "Not all, but
some of it. She's getting . . . married
again. To a surgeon with prestige and mo-
"One of them successful men, right?"
"Yep. W..I1 ..." Roger paused.
Though he didn't consider L, rson an inti-
mate friend, he felt a need to talk. "Did
\ou eveE wish that yo>u could go back and
change tilings? I radius things that affected
your whole life?"
"Don't we all." Bob laughed. "H-li,
if I conic change anything, I'd be richer
than sin right now."
"Not exactly," Re, er -..ii, chewing his
lower lip. He didn' t ant this to sound
as if he were certifiably crazy. "I \i .an
a tragedy. The death of i; cloce friend. 1,
"Sure," Bob nodded. "I lost a good
friend in Nam. But everybody's gotta die
"But what if you knew, truly knew, that
. . . that someone died at the wrong time?"
Bob looked directly at Roger. "Well,
I was told that when your time •ame, you
went. No matter what. But I gotta agree,
sometimes £t seems wrong. Though there's
nothing you can do about it."
"What if you could go back into the
past, knowing what was going to happen,
and could do something, anything, to change
the outcome?" Roger asked.
"You'd ©hange the world. History
would be changing every second."
"Would you do it? Assuming it were
Roger's heavy drinking the last few
weeks puzzled and worried Bob. Could this
lie the reason that he wanted to change his
past? Bob stalled by lighting a cigarette.
"This is getting to be a pretty heavy con-
Roger drained his glass and motioned
for another. "I suppose. But I can't help
"What would you change?" BoTi asked.
After a moment, Roger said, "I'd g«
back twenty years and keep my best friend
"You saw , it happen?"
"Yep." Roger sighed. His chest and
throat were constricting with the memory.
He took a long swallow of beer. "We used
to swim, in this old stone quarry off 53»
south of town. Hardly anybody knc?w about
it. They ail went to Newell Pool. But
me 'n Kenny loved the place. Anyway . .
•ne afternoon we got up on one of the
highest ledges and jumped.". ,
Bob kept silent.
"He shouldn'ta died, though," Roger
went on. "He had it all go in for him.
He was best in sports. And was real
smart too. He taught me how to swim!
I shudda been the one who drowned I May-
be it was because we were so poor and
lived in a crummy trailer court I"
"•aim down," Bob soothed. "Look,
I don't wanna sound like . . . hell, I
don't care what I sound like. You need
help. I know this great doctor ..."
"A shrinkl No thanks."
"Why not? If you need help, get
help. Drinking yourself into a stupor
every night won't do it," Bob said.
"He helped me to accept my divorce. And
to deal with my feelings. He can help
you deal with this." He leaned closer.
"You can't change the past, Rog, but
you can get help in understanding and
dealing with it. That's the key."
Roger rested on his e]bows, drinking
"Believe it or not, Rog, but a lot-
ta people think the same way you do.
About changing the past, I m^an. One
guy in my group, his father died of a
heart attack in the garage. Right after
they'd had an argument. He was only
nineteen, and he kept blaming himself
for •ausing the death. One of his prob-
lems was that he couldn't go into that
garage. Ni matter what. He simply eoulc
not enter the place. He moved a short
time later, but oould never get over the
feeling of guilt. The Doo helped him
deal with the guilt and then suggested
he go back to his old house and go into
that garage. Somehow, the guy pulled it
"It worked, huh?"
"Seems to," Bob said. "But the guy
got help, Rog. He knew he couldn't do
it alone. I'll give you the Doc's num-
At dawn, Roger awoke in a drenching
sweat, clawing at the air. B? oalm his
jangling nerves, he got himself a beer.
He was glad that he'd remembered to get
a six-pack before he left Bill's. Maybe
drinking himself into a stupor every
night wasn't the answer to his problem,
as Bob said, but it was all ho had.
The phone was ringing and Roger
suddenly snapped awake. He had relaxed
on the coach after a second beer, and had
fallen asleep again.
"Hello," he aaid thickly into the
"Roger?" Brenda asked.
"Yeh, it's me." His tongue felt as
though it was covered with a cottony
"Arc you okay?" she asked seriously.
"Are you -drunk?"
The Changed Man, continued
"No!" R#ger answered, clearing his
throat. "I was sleeping."
"You sound drunk," she told • him.
Roger bit back the anger rising with-
in him. He didn't answer but let the si-
lence continue. Let her break it, he
"I called about the beys," she said
after a few more seconds.
"I'll pick them up . . ."
"No!" she interrupted. "We're going
with Adam + o Wisconsin. His parents in-
vited us an up for the weekend."
"But . . . this is mv_ weekend to
"Sorry. Adam's •ut Side waiting in
the car," Brenda said. "I tried to call you
Roger anywhere, not fishing, or swimming,
or to a basketball game. He just sat in
that crusty, sagging armchair and gave his
only child verbal lessons on honesty •
and hard work. Like or. "Father Knows Best"
or "Ozzie and Harriet." ]5ven their
deaths didn't affect him 'as much as Ken-
ny's. Kenny Davis had been everything
to himj best friend, confidante, and
teacher. Almost a brother. They were
so alike in appearance that people often
'^ot them mixed up. They were like twins
somehow, having different parents, and
lived in trailers parked side by side.
■ Roger glanced across Apple Hill Road
at his battered blue Civic parked under
n elm in the lot of 'Newel Park. It
I stopped calling at midnight. "seemed safe to leave there for a while, so
he tried to appear casual as he walked
toward the small grove of aok trees. He
would follow the path along the stsap
limestone banks of Newel Creek to the
"I don't hang around waiting for you
to call, Breada," Roger said sarcastically
"Look, I want the boys this weekend,
without them. "
"Nope. Everything's packed and they'requarry. Though this route was the long-
in the car already. Frankly, Roger, the
boys told me that they get bored to death
in that tiny apartment. They like to ride
their bikes and be with kids their own
age. You know how it is;"
"I can't say that I do, Brenda. T
"Well, maybe next weekend."
"I'm working the next three Saturdays,
You know that. My rights are -being violat-
ed.- I have custody on weekends, remember!'
"SO, sue me."
"Thanks for nothing." •'
"I tried t« call," she said. "Tell
you what. You give me the number of that
bar where you spend so much time, and I'll
call there first. Okay?"
"You're turning them against me. I
"You are drunk, aren't you? Maybe "
it's better that you're not getting them
this weekend if you're gonna start that
again. I don't want to "worry about your
drinking any more."
est way, he and Kennjr took it most often
kecause of its illusion of wildness. It
was still that way, except for the shing-
led roofs of a few new housss barely
visible through the foliage. A distinct
smell floated in the afternoon air around
him. The odor of wildf lowers, tall,
fibrous weeds, and untouched soil. He re-
r<jmbered overturning rocks in the creek
and watching the crayfish scoot away,
stirring up the sediment along the bottom,
and suddenly felt a little better, less
Maybe he got lucky, for once 5 meeting
Bob Larson last night and hearing about
the man who had returned to that garage.
Maybe it was what he needed to do too.
Roger thought, if I go into the stone
quarry and face the past, —ybe I'll come
out a changed man. Maybe.
Suddenly it was there. At his right.
A couple of acres that looked like a huge
bite from the earth. The layers of lime-
stone representing eons of tine stripeSL
"I'm not drunk! And I don't drink whenthe sides unevealy, large areas had been
boys are with me!"
45* "Because you know what will happen if
you do! Goodbye."
The line went dead.
Dever's Trailer Park, where Roger had
lived for so many years, had been bull-
dozed away and a growth of short trees and
weeds covered most of the two acres, but
an equally lew-classed used car lot claimed then swan here, they almost never had to
the corner nearest the highway. The gravel share it with anyone else- That was the
blasted, creating ledges like steps a-
round the sides of the box-like quarry.
Sometime during its brief existence,
water began filling it and the workers
left, crossing the highway to start again.
What they left behind, surrounded by
gnarled trees and low, tenacious bushes,
was an isolated paradise.
During the summers that the two of
trucks still labored heavily in and out of
the enormously deep stone quarry across
Despite his resistance, the feelings
were released. The past was still vivid.
Imag-s danced and ran together as the mem-
ories flooded his mind. The dilapidated,
best thing about this place. But the iso-
lation was also its biggest disadvantage
because help had been so far away.
After clinbing down the steep, rocky
path, Roger stopped at the edge of the
water and lit a cigarette. The surface
was calm, rippled only by the gentle August
dull, silver trailer that was his home, his wind, reflecting the clear, cloudless
mother, who he truly loved, but her whining sky overhead. It looked inviting and
tone dro v e him crazy, his father with com- he squatted and put his hand in. It was
plaints of arthritis and ulcers, or what- cool, as he remembered, almost too cool
ever illness was going around that kept him for swimming, tut that too, had been part
unemployed and permanently in fr#nt of the of the magic of this place — swimming until
small black-and-white TV. He never took your teeth chattered, then sunning on one
The Changed Man, continued
of the ledges to get warm again.
God, he thought, how we loved to cone
Roger wished that he'd brought beer
with hiu. After Brenda had called, he
drank several more and fell asleep on the
couch again. Now it was mid-afternoon, hot
and humid even with the breeze, and time
for another cold one to quench his thirst
and growing need.
The water was tempting. Not having
a swimsuit had never botherei him; he swam
in his jockey shorts as a kid and would do
it still. He stripped quickly and plunged
in. The change was shocking. Roger came
directly to the surface, his breath nearly
chilled away, but he didn't go back to
shore. This was just as he remembered.
A few minutes of awkward stroking
quickly tired him and he let his feet sink
and stood on the bottom. Something in
Roger's memory clicked. This was the spot
where he knew he would make it to shore —
the spot in the dream. Except the dream
had him out beyond the drop-off, not on
the underwater shelf he was standing on.
Looking up and slightly to his right, he
could see the ledge that they had jumped
from. He saw now why it had happened-,
the ledge was too much into the shallow
portion and they couldn't possibly leap
into the drop-off. Not together. Not
with Kenny grabbing his arm and just jump-
Roger walked to shore and pulled him-
self out of the water. Laying on the hard,
uneven limestone, the sun warming and dry-
ing, he was overcome with sorrow. He felt
sorry for himself and what he'd become,
and sorry for Kenny Davis, but even worse,
th^t he would be exactly the same person
when he left here. Nothing could
change the past; one of them had to drown
that day and the other had to live with
the guilt the rest of his life.
Warmed i>y the sun , he grew drowsy
and closed his eyes. Suddenly he was on
that ledge again with Kenny Davis stand-
ing beside him.
"C'mon, Rog, jump!" Kenny yelled in
"Listen, Kenny, we can't! Please
listen!" Roger begged.
"Chicken!! Roger's a chicken! Ken-
ny screamed out over the empty quarry.
Roger clung desperately to the face
of the cliff, his fingers digging in
between layers of rock. "You don't
understand, Kenny! If we jump ... if
we jump, one of us will get killed. I
know it!! God, Kennv, you got to listen
to me ! ! "
"We can make it!" Kenny grinned,
grabbing Roger's wrist. "Heck, I done
it lotsa times."
"Not this time," Roger pleaded.
"Not this time. Let's climb down!?"
Kenny said, "I taught ya how to
play ball, how to ride a bike, and how to
swim. Now I'm gonna show you how to
Still holding Roger's arm, Kenny
flung himself from the narrow ledge to-
ward the shallow water below. Roger tight
ened his grip with the other hand, but
it was easily torn away. Over the edge
he went too.
He awoke sweating from the heat of
the glaring sun, but not with the feel-
ing of panic. This time the dream ended
with him crawling out of the water.
He went to his clothes and got dress-
ed. A change seemed to have come over
him while he slept. Maybe coming here
had done some good. Maybe, with the
change in the ending of the dream, he
could accept what had happened.
Glancing around the quarry for
truly the last time, Kenny Davis said
aloud, "I should have listened to you, Ro-
ger* You said one of us would get kill-
ed if we jumped. Somehow you knew. And
I didn't listen. I shouldn't have held
on to your wrist when I jumped. I
shouldn't even have talked you into climb-
ing up there with me."
If there's anything about Jack Cole-
nan that's catchy, it's his enthusiasm.
He's pedaled to work most days since 1976.
When a broken leg forced him off his bike
3 years ago, as soon as he was able, he
was back on the bike, c rutches strapped to
the rear carr 1 2r. This is how co-workers
at Joliet's Caterpillar Tractor Company
probably know Jack best. Along with th:-
stream of cars coming to and leaving the
Joliet plant, everyday, there's a lone-
biker. It's Jack.
To Jack, the 20 or so miles he
averages a day on his bike are unremark-
There was a young girl from the city
Who was both witty and pretty
She had but one vice
Liked rolling the dice
New she is hooked, what a pity!
able. He'll tell you that. But he'll
also tell you he's not driven the car
since his broken leg incident. Commuting
on the bike is a way of thinking for this
Jack C«leman, continued
Jack's interest in cycling developed not always have there been easy grades.
in ab^ut 1973. A used clunker of a bike He was riding to work in early March,
from a fellow worker started it. Then two 1980 at about 6: U5 a.m. The residu e
of the neighbor kids got ten speeds. These on the road under a light layer of
fancy bikes caught Jack's eye. The frost was the remainder of winter's
wheels, literally, were put into motion. anti-skid lotion, cinders. Jack took
An interest in promoting riding developed a right turn two blocks from his house.
along with the miles Jack was beginning to He skidded sideways. He fell with a jar-
accumulate on his rides. He bought a good ring thud. Although his feet never left
bike, a lightweight, drop-handlebar model, the toe clips, his left leg was broken,
which he still rides. and the left ankle joint had badly torn
He chuckles when he talks about how he ligaments,
purchased his new bike in a community ^0 Doctors at first prescribed only
miles away. He had his wife drop him off casting, but later decided to operate
10 miles from home. The ensuing ride on to put a pin in the ankle.
his lightweight, sensitive machine with its For Jack, whose last seven years
awkward rider position actually made him had revolved around his bicycling and
que sy. He claims now it was a touch of running, the accident threw him into a
anxiety. "I had to stop every few miles or severe depression It wr.sn't the pain,
so, just to regain my composure. It was he'll tell you, but "being incapacitated,"
wild." and "not knowing what I will be able to
Cycling became an avocation for Jack, to do? Will I be able to ride?" It
It's spurred him on into a whole different wasn't long though. Jack was back. Neigh-
sphere of personal accomplishment , of being bors would see him tackling two blocks ,
"capable of more than I have ever dreamed." hobbling along on his crutches. Two
He helped organize a local bike club, blocks to four blocks, two months, and
As a fledgling organization, it needed more believe it or not, Jack was on his bike
PR work than it needed rides. "You had to again.
sell the idea that bike riding was some- Oh, his toes were exposed in the cast,
thing worth doing." This was right at the He had to remove the toe clips and
start of the early 70' s bike boom. "I won- change his psdal to a flat rubber pe-
dared what they thought when I went in to dal, but he was back riding. You can't
the County Historical Society and said, 'I'dkeep Jack's enthusiasm down. He attributes
like to do a ride to commemorate the Bicen- it to his "I'm going to do it or die
tennial. '" A Bicentennial "Paul Revere" trying" attitude. It took a good year
ride was instituted approximating the of biking to overcome the fear of right-
distance between Lexington and Concord that hand turns, but coupled with his enthu-
night. Surprisingly, people responded, *j-? siasm, Jack is very persistent,
and Jack's efforts led to greater aware- Talking with eagerness about his
ness by local communities of biking. training schedule, which has grown to in-
The first local century ride, the "Paulclude swimming, Jack's leanness, and
Revere" ride, a 200-miler to commemorate angularity speak of his degree of fitness
the 200th year of our nation, all came from and health.
Jack's newfound enthusiasm. He wasn't alone. "Your ability within yourself is
There was a developing core of people who gradual, but the feeling of accomplish-
were catching the same enthusiasm. Jack ment is great, ""he said as he discussed
was out in front. his hobby.
As he has .grown in biking experience, "Make the commitment. Give it a
Jack's done .just that.
Tom Van Horn
Most often, a literary character's name implies specific meaning to a reader.
The following is a list of names to conjure:
Ina Crabb Phil Etto Etta Herman Blanche White Soph Few
Al Cohalic Connie Lingulus Ernie Lots Jim Nasium Ben Gay
Anna Notherthing Jack Koff Frank N. Earnest Dan Dee
Ann T. Bellun Ben Dover Ed Sett era Grace S. Sweet Art Test
Al Agorie Betty Cant Cliff Klimer Gus Undite Sol Amen
Given Nanes, continued
Ted E. Bare
Ms . Eary
Toby R. Notoobe
Cly*3 S. Dale
Agga Tat or
DEDICATION TO K. J. JR.
Sone can look at 'nothing'
and find neaning ;
I an forever looking for a 'neaning'
but find nothing;
So b e H
AAnd so on.
It's a funny world.
Ro senary Grossi
Are you aware
of the implications
of putting THAT
Tears rolling endless
waving goodbye forever
the train pulls away.
Clarence Re id
Her hair had grown down to her knees
Of it she was p r oud as you please
She was given a pet
By a neighborhood vet
And soon had a head full of fleas.
The cool rain sparkled in the din of evening
healing the day into night.
The leaves bowed fron the weight of its drops,
An end to their f reef all flight.
Sing ne a song,
Sell ne a scan,
01 ' nan .
Set ne an offer,
you 01' codger.
I've 'ad a few,
tis nothin* new,
hey, they are
beside the pool
in the niddle of
this large hotel
i wonder if they're
real, or just five-
story high plastic
A HELL OF A PIECE
Snap! The window shade shot up and he had changed his routine. He still
flap-flap-flapped over its roller. got up early, but put off staring at
Ira Blun bolted into a sitting position the empty paper until afternoon. Later,
in his single bed. The raised shade was like he put it off until evening. Then,
a broken dan — it unleased a tidal wave of
sunshine into the roon. Sunlight flooded
the ivory walls, the dark blue rug, and the
white-lacquered furniture. It splashed all
over Ira's face, spattered his sleep-
"Shit," he said, slithering slowly
out of bed. He shuffled over to the win-
dow and pulled the shade down. Then he
crawled back in between the sheets and
rolled into a fetal position. The shade
snapped up again.
"Shit," said Ira, pulling the blue and
white flower-print blanket over his head.
"Shit, shit, shit." He had planned to
sleep in today. Now that was impossible.
Once he had gotten out of bed, he could ne-
ver go back to sleep.
"Shit," he repeated under the blanket,
his eyes wide open. He closed them gently,
but it was useless and he knew it. He
began to feel warm, even though the blanket
in which he'd cocooned himself was summer-
weight. Ira Blum never used a blanket— he
didn't like to sweat.
He pressed the light-button °n his di-
gital watch— 7:30 — and groaned. The whole
morning — he'd have to endure the whole mor-
ning. He had wanted to sleep this morning
away. That way, the problem of what to do
with all his time would only plague him
through an afternoon and the early part of
an evening: The late part was easily dealt
with— all he had to do was switch on the
TV to escape the guilt he felt about wast-
ing another day. In the afternoon, the
programming was less diverse. His mind
could never be captured totally by soap
operas and game shows. Thus, it wandered,
wandered into Guiltland, where it invited
uncomfortable twinges and vague anxieties
to set up camp in Ira's body.
Now he had to deal with the morning
Ira Blun was a writer. He had written
two novels, both horror stories. The se-
cond had been made into a movie. Success
had come easy.
But that was two years ago. Since
then, Ira hadn't been able to write even
one full page that satisfied him. At first,
he had thought he was suffering from a tem-
porary block that would soon disappear,
and then he would be abl e to grind out
another book with the same ease that had
produced the first two. For weeks after
the film had stopped showing, he had got-
ten out of bed early, put on the coffee
pot, and settled at his desk, only to come
up with a succession of lackluster plots
and a few unremarkable characters. Then,
he stopped altogether — no use sitting
at the desk for nothing. After several
months, he thought, if it wasn't going
to happen, then it just wasn't going
to happen. He would wait for an idea
to strike him.
His agent called regularly. Ira
put him off, told Manny that he was
working on "a hell of a piece," and to
leave him alone if he ever wanted to
see it finished. Manny put up with it.
After all, two best-sellers and movie
rights had netted him a comfortable
cut, and he was confident that Ira could
come through again. Hadn't the critics
said a new Stephen King had b ee n born?
The guilt and anxiety declared
squatters' rights in Ira's bones.
"I'm not burned out yet," he told
himself. Every night before he fell
asleep, he chastised himself for not
producing, and then promised to get
down to business the next day — pull his
guts out trying, if that's what it took.
A year passed. Ira's hopes dis-
solved — vaporized right out of his mind,
and now hovered over the typewriter in
his "writing room." He closed the door
to the room; he didn't want to be re-
minded. But he got a chill every time
he passed it — from behind the closed
door, Guilt reached out with icy fingers
and thrummed an arctic melody on his
Money wasn't a problem—not ye^
anyway. He still had enough to tide
him over for quite some time, provided
he didn't do anything foolish, but fool-
ishness was out of character for Ira.
Aside from an occasional drinking binge,
Ira rarely indulged in frivolity, and
never when money was involved. He
lived in a modest home in a rural area
near Chicago. The home was furnished
and decorated smartly but economically.
Forth-two-year-old Ira had never been
married, a fact which had caused his
nother to suffer daily attacks of the
most extreme agitation. She had died
before Ira's second book came out,
and the once-a-week phone calls from
Brooklyn had ceased. He didn't have
to listen to "Did you neet any nice
girls this week?" any more. That should
have been a relief, but strangely, he
missed his mother's nagging for a long
time. He did not, however, miss not
having a wife.
Into the second year of Ira's
barrenness, Manny's calls became less
frequent . . He liadn ' t liven up on Ira . He
A Hell of a Piece, continued
just had his fingers in so many pies, that
Ira, not being one of the -writers -who had
furnished one of the pies for so long, fa-
ded from his mind, for longer periods of
tine. That suited Ira fine--it made the
guilt a little easier to; bear.
' But just yesterday, Manny had phoned.
"How's tricks, Ira?". -
"Oh-^gettin there* I think."
"Still working on the same book?"
"Oh, yeah. It's gonna be & hell of a
piece when it's done. And, Manny, I got
a few other ideas, too, that I think are
"onn-; hitj." ; •
"That's great, Ira. It,' s. bean — what? —
almost two and a half years now since
Cast A Spell . People are gonna forget you."
"I don't know what to tell you, Manny.
Except — it's moving."
"Yeah, well — can't force genius, I
guess. Ha-ha. Keep plugging and let me
know as soon as you're close to comple-
"Sure, Manny. Sure."
"You don't want to reconsider your
decision about lettin me see some of the
first few chapters, huh?"
"No. I told you, that'll stop the
"It'd mean seme cash, you know."
"I don't need any. I'm fine."
"Okay, okay. We're all stinkin rich
and don't need to worry about money. Ha-ha.
Well, gotta go."
It was getting unbearably warm under
the blanket. But the light outside it was
still splashing around the room The fire
or the frying pan, Ira thought. Some
The dampness he began to feel in the
hair under his arms decided it — he thre™
the blanket back and sat up. He hated to
He stretched his arms and legs, then
got up and walked over to the window, his
naked body framed there for anybody who
wanted to see. Nobody did. He pulled the
shade back down and plodded to the bathroom.
He turned on the hot water in the shower,
letting it run while he used the toilet.
A minute later, icy needles struck his leg'
as he poked it between the shower curtains.
"Christ," he yelled, checking the
faucets. Yes, he had turned on the one
marked "hot," but no, there wasn't any hot
water. He fiddled with the knobs for a-
while, but still no hot water, He checked
the sink. No hot water there either. He
pulled a ratty blue bathrobe off a hook
behind the door and put it on, tying the
soft, fraying belt around his waist as he
cane back into the bedroom. -;
It was nice and gray there now. He
thought for a minute about clinbi n ^ back
into bed, ''acided against it, and headed
fo*" the utility room next to the kitchen.
Snap! The shade in the bedroom
shot up as he passed through the door.
The pilot light was on under the
tank of the water heater. While he
was crouched down to check it, it had
ignited the burner unit, and the water
was heating up. That was odd. There
was no hot water, but the water heater
was working. Maybe it had shut off some-
how during the night and had just now - .
started up again. He didn't know how
that could happen, but he would check
the water in a while, give it a little
time, and see if everything was okay.
He turned the Mister Coffee switch
to "on" as he passed through the kitchen.
He opened the front door and walked
out to the mailbox to n;et the newspaper.
"Damn," he mutter ei. No paiper.
It figured. He went back into the house
and sat at the kitchen table watching
the coffee maker dribble its brew into
the glass pot. He always prepared the
coffee maker the night before so he
wouldn't have to wait so long in the
morning. At least, ho thought, the Mis-
ter Coffee's working.
From the kitchen archway, he glanced
inattentively at the living room, sweep-
ing the room casually fron corner to
corner. His gaze was arrested by the
door to the "writing room." It was
open- — just a crack — but opsn nevertheless
That was strange. It hadn't been opened
in — how long was it? Maybe there was
someone in the house. He stood up
quietly and tiptoed across the living
room. He tried to peek through the crack
of the door. He reached his hand through
it and flipped on the liHit switch. No
no i s e s . No movement .
. He pushed the door ooen and stepped
inside. Nobodjr was there. Everything
was in place, just as ha'd left it — when
was it? He shuddered — then pulled the
door shut securely.
Ira settled into his favor it a chair
in the living room with ?. cup of coffee,
and lit a cigarette. Now what? What
was he going to do? He scanned the cof-
fee table in front of the sofa. It was
littered with newspapers and na 'azines.
Ha'd been snipping out articles the night
before. One never knew where an idea
might come from, or whan it would hit.
The scissors he shad used were lying open
next to a neat little stack of clippings.
For a second, he thought about finishi-"
the job. .,
"Nah, I don't feel like it now, t! he
He kicked up the TV Gui-Ie . He
hadn't watched morning television in
ages — it might be a whole new adventure.
He opened the magazine to Wednesday's
listings. Abruptly, he looked up.
A Hell of a Piece, continued
Something had rattled somewhere. He
listened. The rattle started again. It
came fron the scissors. They were vibrating
on the coffee table. He stored, eyes wide,
eyebrows raised. His mouth dropped. They
were moving. The scissors were vibrating
on the table, moving in his direction.
"Queerest damned thing," said Ira af-
ter he'd recollected his senses. He walked
the three steps to the coffee table and
picked up the scissors. Nothing different
"Queerest damned thing," he repeated,
looking over and under the coffee table.
He didn't know what he was looking fori May-
be we're having an earthquake, ha thought,
settl ng back in his chair. But nothing
else had moved, nothing else had rattled.
He sat and smoked for a quarter of an
hour, his eyes riveting to the scissors
every few seconds. Nothing happened. Ev-
erything was quiet. "Hmmm," he said.
"This is weird."
Finally, he picked up the TV Gu£ e a-
gain, flipping back to Wednesday's listings.
Suddenly, a fast, hissing sound split
the silence. His head jerked up, his eyes
fixed on the scissors. They were coming
straight at him. He ducked, the TV Guide
frozen in his hands. The scissors sliced
through the magazine, backed up, sliced
through it again. Ira gaped, his face con-
torted, a terror creeping up his neck.
He dropped the pieces of the TV Guide .
The scissors fell to the floor.
"Whatthehell is ha pp^ing^" he yelled.
The house was silent. "What's going ° n?
he yelled. Silence.
He stared at the scissors lying on the
rug. They were possessed, he thought. My
God, the a; issors are possessed. He bent
over to pick them up, but stopped tfhen his
fingers were within an inch cf the handle.
They didn't move. He moved his hand closer,
slowly. He touched the cool metal and
still they didn't move. He picked them up.
"Sheriff, I have a pair of possessed
scissors in ny house. They're trying to
kill me." It was insane. He couldn't call
the sheriff. Anyway, if the scissors
really were possessed, what could a cop do?
Still in the ratty bathrobe, he padded
out to the back door carrying the scissors.
He walked out to the edge of his yard, be-
yond which was a huge, open field. The
farmer who owned it had moved away, planning
to divide the land into lots and sell them
off some time in the future.
Ira glanced at the scissors one more
time, and then hurled them as far as he
could into the open field. They sailed into
the air, glittered in the sunshine, and
Ira waited for what seemed an age.
They didn't come sailing back. He trudged
into the house.
"Who could I call?" he thought.
I can't just sit here thinking about it.
I've got to tell somebody. Who would
I tell? W&? would believe it?
"That's right, Manny— -possessed
scissors. They tried to kill me." Man-
ny would howl over the phone, ask Ira
if that was part of his new book. Then
he'd tell Ira not to waste his time.
Speilberg had just gone the poltergeist
route , and it would have to be one hell
of a book if people were going to buy
just any old "things-that-ge-bumn-in-
No. He wouldn't tell Manny. He
wouldn't tell anyone. What if he per-
sisted with the story, insisted it was
true? He'd been out Tiere al^ne for so
long. People would think he was
crazy . . . maybe . . . maybe, he was .
Everything in the house belied what
had "happened. Everything was quiet.
He refilled his coffee cup, lit another
cigarette. He sat in the living room
staring and thinking. From tine to tine.,
he glanced down at the pieces of the
TV Guide . He hadn ' t imagined it. There
was the magazine— sliced twice. But
then, maybe he'd done it himself . . .
want a little mad and cut up the magazine
himself. He thought of Norman Bates
in "Psycho" telling Janet Leigh, "We all
go a little mad sometimes."
No. He wasn't crazy. Those scissors
had flown in the air. He had seen it.
He'd begun to relax a little when he
noticed it. The door of the "writing
room" was ajar.
"C'mon," he said. "C'mon, for
Chrissake. What's going on?"
As he neared the door this time, he
was afraid — -so afraid he was trembling.
His breathing seemed loud and erratic.
He flipped the light switch on. Still no
As he placed his hand on the door
to push it open, something powerful,
like a high wind in reverse, sucked him
inside. He crashed through the doorway,
twisting, turning, fighting the suction,
and fell on the floor a few feet from
the desk. The wind stopped, the door
slammed shut. He ran to it, tried to
pull it open, but it wouldn't budge.
He was trapped.
Now Ira was sure. There was a
spirit, there was a "something," in the
house. It wanted to kill him. He
looked around the room, his eyes falling
on the letter opener glistening in the
overhead light. It lay on the desk, next
to the blotter, next to some pens. He
stood rigid, not daring to move . It
would return, he was certain. Maybe it
was still in the room watching him.
"What have I done? Why do you want
A Hell of a Piece, continmed
to kill ne? For God's sake, answer!"
It did. A whoosh of a i r forced hin
into the chair behind the desk. The letter
opener rattled on the wooden desk-top. It
The " something" grabbed Ira's right
arm, pulling it up oh the desk toward the
letter opener. He screamed, fighting the
thing that lifted his an.
"What is it? What is it? Don't kill
me . . . what do you want?"
His hand inched toward the letter op-
ener. He tried to pull it back with his
free arm. The thing — the spirit — whatever
it was, slammed his left arm back against
the chair. His fingers touched the letter
"No :r\ . no," be ^leaded.
The thin, moved his hand violently.
Ira closed his eyes, opening them secondF
later to see, not the letter opener
gripped in his hand, but a pen.
"Are you going to tell me? Is that
it? You're going to write what you want* 7
Through me? Yes, yes, do it. Tell r.e
what you want."
He grabbed a sheet of paper from
the corner of the desk and held the j>en
over it. He waited.
"Well, c'mon. Doit. Tell me!"
His hand began to move. The ink
flowed onto the page into neat little
squiggles and curlicuae. Words appeared
one after the other. Ira read as his
"Snap! The window shade shot up
and flap-flap-flapped Over its
roller . . ."
WHAT IS REALITY?
yci i .(as all others }
offerings of the best abilities
(sweating with strong-
willed per severance)
how many days, weeks, of
one EiDEie : ':• of
When black & white goes color ;
When color goes 3-D
Then every sound goes through
Your ears and moves you
When forward won't go backwards
And when you don't agree,
Then liquids turn to solids
And end up just like me.
Where up is down
And all around
Is near and far surrounding,
And bells won't ring, ths
Real thing saeras boring
THE GOLDEN YEARS AFFAIR
It's early evening. On the "senile
floor" of the Golden Years Nursing H^me,
the supper trays have long since been sent
to the kitchen and everyone is ready for
bed. The opiates that will calm the fears,
both real and imagine- 1 -, and hasten sleep
have been crushed, mixed with applesauce
and passed down unknowing throats. The
more restless residents have been restrain-
ed in the soft cotton vests that will hold
them safely in their beds — except for Herb,
whose family won't allow it. Every night
the nurse prays that he won't fall; his
son can't admit that Herb is. old, much less
that he's senile.
As she makes her rounds, checking
teeth cups and bed rails, she notices the
beauty of the sunset in sharp contrast
to the dreariness.. of the hall where she
stands. Somehow, knowing that that beau
ty exists makes the bleakness of her job
easier to bear.
A familiar voice causes her to turn
from the sunset in time to see Matt,
muttering in German, shuffle slowly down
the hall. She watches as he goes to
Ann's room. The floor supervisor thinks
of Matt as a dirty old man and doesn'b
approve of this nightly ritual, but the
nurse, herself a widow, does nothing to
Matt takes Ann by the hand and gent
ly leads hsr back to his room They neve:
exchange words ;the entire communication
takes place through the senses of touch
and sight. The two of them look at
each other and then at the bed. Slow-
ly, Matt pulls back the sheet and pats
The Golden Years Affair, continued
the pillow. Ann shakes her head and turns
to leave. Ever the gentleman, Matt escorts
Ann back to her c to room, where he again
pulls down the sheet, all the while watch-
ing Ann. He snoothes the clean, soft pil-
low and sits on the edge of the bed.
The nurse turns again to the sunset — '
but quickly looks back. The ritual is
tailing on an added dimension.
Ann is sitting on the bed beside
2l'.att, softly whistling, as she always
does when she's happy. Playing with
Matt's fingers, she ternderly h^ips
hin lift her thin cotton nightgown.
The nurse quietly closes the door
an-1 leaves then alone. She r et--_.rns
once more to the window to watch the
continuously changing fading beauty of
C. L. Weather ford
BEFORE I FALL ASLEEP
FLEUR D» AMOUR
Sometimes at night,
I try to inagine
I close my eyes,
lie very still,
blank ny nind.
The cat leaps from the dresser
and lands with a soft thump.
A car's engine groans outside,
and the heartbeat in ny ears
begins to sound like soldiers marching.
I always conclude
the same old thing:
no matter how hard I try,
I cannot imagine
A life as I have lived it should not be
Forever in a daydream with my
Life unknown and though daisies in
My garden grow. Roses could they
B - If only life were m^gic and
Lovers could we be.
On the floor of a forest carpeted
With the leaves of autumn, the
Towering trees tapering to trunks
Torn by time, I met thee for
The first and knew there was
Love to come. We stood near
To a spider's silks draped
O'er a chrysanthemum.
To what extents I could fall
In the depths of warm emotion,
I had never known before, nor had
I an, r notion of what would come
To me and thee through our
Heartfelt devotion. I should ,
Have been much happier had
Time not taken thee.
SWAMP STOMPING AND BAR ROOM BRAWLING
I have a confession to make ... I am
a Sw-Tip St'omper,;
No. I an not some large, prehistoric
monster, nor dm I an alligator-hunter. I
am the girlfriend of a guy with a truck.
Not just any truck. And not just any
four-wheel drive truck
it's a Ford,
black with a white cab — lifters yet to
Gary, alias Hoppy, alias Spudder,
alias my boyfriend, belongs to a club
called the Swamp Stompers. To get in, you.
must have a four-wheel drive truck; to be
an honorary member, you have to be a girl
that has landed herself one of the most
sought-after guys in Lemont. I have.
Thus, I am.
Female Swamp Stompers have several
duties which they are required to perform;
the main one is being with your nan at
ev^y Swamp Stomper social gathering. Un-
fortunately, they gather every night. Sit-
ting in a parking lot or a dcS srted off-,
road night after night does get to be
But we all do change to the •
Whins of time. Our likes do
Change with neither reason
Nor rhyme, and the rhythm of life
Alters the chine, and so your
Choice of hin or me, I can't
Now, I dream of the
Tines we had and the life that
Could have been. I sonetines
Forget that you have gone and
Call I then your name.
I can and will live without you.
How well is yet to be seen.
But this life I lead is still
A merciless gane.
monotonous, even when you enjoy the com-
pany, but it's all worth it when you
find out you're going to take a weekend
road trip. Not just a Sunday aft err n
trip ... a whole weekend with just
you, your boyfriend, and. at least eight
Swamp Stomping, continued
One cold weekend last April we took
such a trip. The Swanp Stonpers were
going to race on Sunday afternoon at Great
Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin.
We had a pre-race party on Friday night
at the quarries, and the Swanp Stonpers'
president told his people that they would
leave fron his auto body sho;^ at 7:00 a.m.
(sharp) Sunday morning. Upon hearing the
time, I promptly told Gary that I wouldn't
"be going. He laughed, patted ny behind,
and said patronizingly, "poor baby."
I left Gary and went over to where ny
girlfirends were standing ... I came just
in time to hear them gossip about our local
herpes queen; definitely not-miss gossip
material. Just as our subject of discus-
sion was changing, guess who called me
over? Queen Laurie! I tried my best to
swallow my guilt, then I went over to
where she was standing with her boyfri-nd,
Bob, and Gary.
They had a plan ... I could tell by
the innocent and cf 1 - arming look on Gary's
face. This was the plan . . . Bob's fam-
ily has a house in Wisconsin that's only
a half ah hour from Union Grove, so they
thought it would be fun if we went up
there on Saturday and just meet everyone
on Sunday at the drag strip. After making
sure that there were nore than two bed-
rooms in his house, I agreed . . . happily;
I couldn't remember the last time I had
been alone with Gary.
Alas, it was too good to be true . .
when Gary pulled into my driveway on Satur-
day, Harm and Ron spilled out of the truck,
greeted my mother with uncommon courtesy,
took my bag, and crawled into the back of
the truck. When my mother was done lec-
turing Gary and he was back behind the wheel
n e informed me the plans had been changed
slightly. From my house we went to get the
rest of the group . . . Tony, his girl-
friend Angie, and Whiffer. Bob and Laurie
had already left.
So my romantic night on P%ers Lake
turned into just another night wi th the
guys. The good news was that they plan-
ned on camping out in the trucks.
We arrived at Klotz's beautiful hone,
went to the door, and were shocked to have
it answered by Mrs . Klots; but not half as
shocked as she was upon seeing five guys
and two girls . . . she was just expecting
Gary and me, as was the equally shocked
Bob. We quickly explained that all of us
were going to sleep in the trucks , but
Mrs. Klotz wouldn't tear of it. . . there
was plenty of room.
Bob herded us out the door, and we
piled into our three trucks to go out to
this "great bar" Bob goes to when he's up
there. This "great bar" that took us
three trucks to get to turned out to be
two blocks away. Bob's like that some-
The bar was nice . . . when using
Wisdonein's standards, that is. Bob's
brother and sister-in-law were sitting
at the bar as we walked in. As everyone
went to the tables, I stopped Gary midway
and had him order us some dinner . .
I like to keep my priorities straight.
When Gary came over to the table,
he had a watermelon in his hand ...
"Well," he said, "if we can't have
romance, we might as well drown our
sorrows." Gary intended for me to be
buried on just the one . . . which I
was, but I would later dig deeper.
So, along came the food and pit-
chers of beer, and the opportunity to
get to really know these people ... I
even kind of enjoyed Laurie's company.
After an hour or two, eveyyone
kind of broke into two groups. Gary,
Tony, Bob, Ron and Harm were at one ta-
ble talking about the race. Laurie,
Angie, Whiffer and I were at another.
Since I don't '"'■rink beer, I had only
had that one watermelon. I was at
least five drinks behind the others. But
Whiffer, that sweet darling, fat over-
affectionate, sixteen-year-old, fixed
that up right away. Three very strong
watermelons later, Gary cane back to
our table and Whiffer got up to let him
sit next to me. Whiffer, being a smart
guy and knowing Gary well, headed over
to join Ron and Hamm in a game of pool.
Gary has since informed me that the con-
versation he tried to carry on with me
was rather one-sided, but I did manage
to inform him of the identity of the guy
who got me drunk. Gary leaned me against
the wall I *?as sitting next to and went
over to the pool tables, so I was left
,with Tony and Angie.
I can remember staring at the signs
above the bathroom doors . . . "Inboard"
and "Outboard" they read. Finally,
I decided I'd settle on either. I got
up and ■ ^an-aged to walk the eight feet
to the bathroom in around five minutes.
Some guy in a group of guys (to be re-
ferred to as "tile others" later on)
standing arjund the bathrooms was kind
enough bo open the correct door for me.
(inboard) When I came back out, the
same guy patted my behind and asked if I
would like a drink. The next thing
I knew, Tony was at my' side and the guy
was apologizing to us. Tony led me
back to the table which was holding
Angie and Laurie up; then he joined
the guys at the pool table.
The next thing I remember was think-
ing that there might be a fight going
on. Five minutes later (or what seemed
like) I heard the glass breaking. Then
I was pretty sure that it was a fi^ht. .
I asked Angie what she thought, and
just then a coat roack crashed bntc our
table. Definitely a fight.
Swamp Stomping, continued
I stood up to look for Gary, "but I
couldn't .find him anwwhere. All of a
sudden, Angie shot out of the booth cry-
ing and screaming and jumped onto some
guys back and started kicking and pinch-
ing. She was good. I was still looking
for Gary when Harm literally picked me up
and threw me out the side door. I heard
more glass break, and then Angie came
stumbling out the door. She was crying
uncontrollabley, so I took her to Tony's
truck where she cried herself to sleep.
The col 4 air was sobering me up quick-
ly as I went back to stand on the bar's
patio. Next, out came Whiffer, crying
harder than Angie. "I didn't mean to hit
him! I didn't! I couldn't help it! He
was punching my friend Bob ... I had to
stop him!" Then the 200+ pound Whiff fell
on top of me. As I way lying there, strug-
gling to get Baby Huey off of me, the
fight flew out the door and surrounded me.
I left Whiffer on top of me for protection.
By the shoes I knew it was Kamm and Tony.
Then, they moved it back in as quickly as
they had moved it out.
Whiffer got up and we took each other
over to the trucks- It was then that my
parents acquired a son . . . Whiffer
decided that he loved me and he wanted to
be my brother and my protector. Then he
started crying again because he was fat
and he didn't think he could get any
pretty girls to go out with him. Then he
fell again, half on the road, half under
Tony's truck. I moved his legs so they
were out of danger, then went back to the
bar to see if it was over yet.
Here's something I've learned through
being present at three of their major
these guys won't quit, es-
pecially Bob. His neck actually swells
up, and he just goes wild . . . Normally
he's very quiet and shy. Another thing
I've learned is that they're pretty good
in a fight.
Well, things were winding down in
there . . . the bartender, who likes Bob,
ras throwing "the other guys" out the
ioor, and Bob's brother had Bob pinned to
the floor to keep him fron going after
them. I still couldn't find Gary, and
was about to ask about him when ho walk-
out of the "Outboard" room. He gave
me a tired grin and hugged me with
arms that I found out later on had
blood flowing down them. One less
white sweater in my wardrobe. I also
spent the next three days picking glass
out of those arms.
As we sat at the bar, settling the
till, Whiffer came and started crying
and hugging everyone. That's when I
saw the huge pool of blood on the floor.
It turned out be be from Gary's nose.
That was it . . .. he knew I'd be his
sucker for at least thr next three weeks.
So» that was why I couldn't find him . .
he had been on the floor the' whole
time I had been, looking for him. But,
he did get some good punches in.
Why did the fight start? Between
me getting my behind patted and one of
them pouring a beer over Ron's head . .
Boys will be boys.
Well, we finally made it back to
Bob's house. I took ny sweater and
washed it in cold water, but Gary want-
ed his to have the blood left on it so
he could show the guys at the races the
The next agonizing morning we ar-
rived at Union Grove with cuts, bruises,
hangovers and plenty of stories to
tell. Gary's shirt was passed around,
and I informed some sympathetic girls
that wanted to console Gary that the
only sympathy or consolation he needed
was mine, thank you very much. A few
hours later, Gary, with me riding shot-
gun, won a third place ; trophy. What did
I clutch in my hands? His bloody shirt,
of course. (He still has it in there,
the sentimental fool. )
As w- were on our way home, before
I fell asleep with the hum of the wheels
as my lullabye, all I could think of
was how I couldn't wait to si^ a park-
ing lot or deserted off -road, and perform
my main duty as an honorary Swamp
Storr^er . . . to be with my man at every
^he Queen of Hearts
rent for a walk
to see the King of Spades
Something must be done
ibout the fun
the Joker had today.
Ie stole the Six
md scared the Nine
mow no one wants to play
He ripped the Sight
and beat the Clubs
made everyone go away.
The King of Spades
he sent his son
the boy's name was Jack
on a manhunt he would go
and bring the Jc^er back.
Out he rode onto the Deck
and there he caught his
He dragged him back into
so they were full .again.
Jeanette L. Gruber
BETTER I THAN A STRANGER
Tamny, you know the things that ran-
kle me, which ignite ny debater flair, and
snarl ny left cheek sneer. You say these
things even as you care . . . Your mouth
flies at the most sticky speck in ny
speech, my weakest logic link.
"That's not how it. is in. the business
world*" and you talk of computers, my field
not yours. You've never even untangled the
longlegged bugs of FORTRAN, BASIC, or
COBOL. ; What gall! I flare, but the stub-
born coal in your mind refuses to light.
"He's only nice tc you because he's
your lab partner, and he needs a good
grade." Dismiss ny carefully tended spark
with a cool breeze and a cold brown eye
under the guise of "Rosy lenses set you up
for a fall. It's better that I, your car-
ing friend, tell you than he, a stranger."
Tanny, you say what you think when you
think it, and pride yourself on clear per-
ceptions. Is that why the sane "he", re-
covering from drunken blindness, kissed
you till you bled, and blamed you for it
all in the morning. How is it that he
used you, Madame Perception. Or did
you secretly borrow my lenses to peek
sneakily, only to stomp on them, force-
fully certain of your original convic-
And yet I return to you. Giddy with
rose-petaled tales of another day, from
which you extract pure red blood. You
tell me again that it's better that you
extract it than someone else.
But this time I've learned . . .
I formerly took the blood sad tears
away from our communion. Now, instead,
I reach out for the white droplets you
drip from the extraction, and these I
treasure. The red is placed in absent
hands. Your means of joy remains only
in the dried blood brown droplets left.
Thorn thoughts th r ive.
THE CLIPPER SHIP
The pulsating, gyrating, invigorating
force of the water massaged my breasts
and kissed my nipples. A few several
droplets nestled in my belly button. A
lost, mischievous trickle tickled my,
thigh s . a bold, brazen barrage of water
slapped my buttocks. I turned off the
faucet and a forgotten spatter kissed my
With her mast sail high
The lady flyer went sailing on /; .
The gallant ship from days gone bv-y
The proud captain and his trusted crew
Took her on to many distant, ports
Like an albatross across water she flew
Her days are gone; s he'll never more trod
To distant places and exotic ports
She sits now resting in the hands of God.
Breathe in, breathe out,
Again in, again out;
Slowly and controlled;
Getting in shape.
Steve Far on
A SIGHT FOR SORE MINDS
TI . ecneirepxE
Alls it takes iS
?Uoy naC .od yleruS
Dream was a dream? I
A dnA ?detnuoc ytse-nO
Remember the moment wheN
,GNIEB nwod sgnirb ylecracS
MY CLOSET SHELF
When I open my closet
and look up toward its shelf
I see a rainbow of colors
old school hooks
a Coke bottle.
Oh lord please help me,
I need a clue .... . !
How can I lose weight
without turning BLUE?
I've tried all the diets
I could possibly find,
but I always end up
fat in the behind!
A BOY'S BEST FRIEND
She takes him out for breakfast
every day before school.
They sit in a booth —
both on the same side
so she can smooth his ten-year-old hair
and coo funnies in his ear.
giggle at each other
every other minute or so.
She pats his shoulder
nuzzles his neck,
straightens his collar,
kisses his cheek-
no end to the touching
which seems to say,
even though she's got a husband,
"You're all I have in this big, bad vorld."
Little boy believes her
with all his heart —
it shows in his dilated eyes,
little fawn gazing lovingly
through thick glasses.
She screamed her last word. He sat on the bed.
She slammed the door
and drove away
He hung his head.
Lit a cigarette
and stared at the floor,
The wrinkled hands v er e folded on
her mountainous lap. The hands worked
nervously at the sash around her middle.
They were pale hands with large splotches
of color partially hidden among the folds
and wrinkles . A single gold band ado rned
the third finger of the left hanl . The
knuckles of the long fingers ware large
"I was a dancer," she said to anyone
and no one. As she rocked back and forth
in the chair she would hum softly some
ancient tune as it it were a magical
chan* with the power to restore her. A
chant with no words, just inflections bare-
ly discernable to the unaware. The hands
still worked at the sash.
"I danced for Flo Zi^g^d," again
she spoke but no one was near to hear.
In her mind she was again dancing the
latest craze, creating new sensations
with each movement. She whirled across
the floor taking command of the stage
as if it were her birthright. She made
it all look so easy. She had talent,
they all said. She'd go places, no
chorus line for her.
She sat stooped over. Shoulders
slumped inward as if some weight borne
for many years had deformed her body.
Her spine bubbled out at the base of the
neck where a hump formed. Her le- r s were
The Dancer, continued
stout with distended knee caps and ankles.
The legs, too, were pale, "but splattered
with large discolored sections. Sone
places red, sone brown. A large bruise
narked her right shin.
The rocking slowed, the novenent
changing to side to side. Her feet, hous-
ed in heavy black shoes began to move ever
so slightly. The shoes were old and hard-
ly even black in places. They were run
places you could see though it. But her
hands noved over it neticulously smooth-
ing here and there. Then, as fast as it
had cone, the change would leave and the
"I used to be a dancer," the voice
croaked. There was -no power to the
voice, no volune. A hoarse voice that
"betrayed its frequent use. Hardly able
to produce any variance in tone or in-
over on the instep and one of the laces had flection.
been broken and retied at the break. They
were unconfortable shoes for unconfortable
feet. The hands worked the sash around
"I used to dance in the Follies."
Her face was the face of all old and
tired people. Wrinkled skin that gave
little idea of the beauty that nay once
have "been there. A bandaid on her creased
forehead. The eyes had lost their color
and now looked at the world gray and
glazed. The lips showed signs of having
once been full, but now receded into
a nouth that had few teeth left. The
cheeks hung in folds as did her chin. Her
hair, what there was of it, was gray and
Someone walked past and a wrinkled
hand shot out. Pulling the am closer to
grab it with both hands. "I used to be
a dancer," she repeated to her captive.
"I danced for Flo Ziegfeld," she said
rapidly as the arm was freed fron her
"I guess I'd better untie her and
walk her down to the dining roon," the
"Yeah, lunch will be ready soon.
Just make sure you tie her in good. She
falls down too nuch and aint supposed to
walk by herself," her companion explained.
"That's a hell of a way for -a dan-
cer to end up."
disheveled. Often one of the wrinkled hands "Dancer, shit. Once this lady
would move to her face, tracing an invisi- showed up. Said she was Essie's cousin,
ble line down her forehead and nose. Then, Well, I asked her about the dancing. She
leaping quickly to her hair in sone ur-
gent gesture, soon to return to the sash
around her waist.
The rocking stopped and the chant
broke off. She would straighten her blue
print dress. The naterial worn thin by
frequent washings was so thread-bare in
says Essie wasn't no dancer, just a
"Well, aint that the damnedest thing.
Guess she always wanted to be one though,"
said the aide as she slowly walked the
arthritic old woman down the hall.
I give you
in this ink,
locked in the letters.
Discover me here.
I inhabit the words
like an old hermit'
afraid of sunshine. '
Breathe me through your mind-
for a moment,
He's got 2nd thoughts
bout the people around him
Wants to go to sleep
cause the dreams astound him
Visual monsters awake in his brain
Colorful dragons driving the train
that meets him in the station
Pushes the cartoons
aside in his head
Trying so hard not
to fall out of bed
With an increasing dread
of the world outside
He makes it to work
Robert ''Gap' 1 Webb
The eye we are told
is a camera
but the file is the heart
not the brain
and our hands joining ■
those that reach
develop the product
Watching the red sun bleed
into the ocean
one thinks of the beauty -
that fire brings
if the eye is a camera
and the film is the heart
then the photo assistant is GOD.
Moonlight, wonderlit, spooned velvet
Purify riy nostrils of the day's dun*"..
Cleanse my senses with the water of still-
ness you so graciously
pour after every storm.
I need but to lay in your nothingness,
cast no reflection.
The dark complete retreat
Provide for the fetal functioning
I perform so comfortably,
In the INDIA INK arms of solidarity
that are yours alone
On my weary soul.
LETTER TO THE BELL COMPANY
Manufacturers of Helmets and Bike
P. 0. Box 78
Wheeling, California 00288
To whom it may concern:
I am writing you regarding your cycling
helmet for bike tourists called the Bell
Touring Helmet. I've been the owner of
your touring helmet for a short while— and
want to point out the diversity of its uses.
I know the object of the helmet—to
protect a rider's head in case of a colli-
sion or accident where a rider is thrown —
but the stated purpose and the actual pur.-?
poses do not. always meet. For example, I've
yet tc test your helmet in a fall from my
bike, but last Tuesday, while carrying my
bike up 28 steps to my apartment, my head
hit the corner of the gutterspout which
overhauls the stairs. Under normal circum-
stances this impact would have knocked me
out — But NO! I was wearing my Bell helmet,
as I was fresh from my ride. It saved me
from the great tragedy of a gash in my fore-
head—or the remote possibility of a fall
down 28 steps with my bike.
Two days later while in the act of
greasing my bike chain , I bent over dou-
ble to view the chain from upside down.
Needless to say, I was quite near the
porch bannister, closer than I thought.
W00NK! went my head against the p r ''rch
railing. But I was saved af?ain. My
head was ensconced in my Bell Helmet.
Lastly, the closet where I store
my bike (contrary to local myths, I don't
sleep with my bike— I put it in my
clothes closet) has a door^y suited only
for a person of elfin proportions. For-
getting to duck, as I have on a number
of times, I hit my head on the door jamb.
Last week, same thing, BUT I still had
on my helmet!
The whole purpose of th s writing is
to tell you I've given up wearing my
helmet while bike riding, it doesn't seem
necessary. But I wear it everywhere else.
I get odd looks, but few bumps on the
noggin. You ought to be promoting your
helmet in the housewares line.
Wanda Klutz enhiemer
Tom Vn.n Horn
A society f'-r the "rascrvation.
of equal ri -hts for men
shoul: 1 . be formed as soon
as enough men can get away from
their wi^es or sweethears
for the one-evening-a-week-«meetings ,
A Russian woman
in a crowd —
caught by a canera
she didn't see.
In her eyes
a soft smile,
an unmistakable joy.
I wonder .
what caused those eyes
In a mirror
I have seen eyes smile
much the sane.
I felt a spark of happiness today.
And as the feeling faded,
I tried to 'figure out just where it
had cone fron.
It popped into 'existence so suddenly,
just as a kernel suddenly pops
into a puff of corn.
When it arrived, it neither jumped
up and down, nor screaned for atten-
The feeling sinply sat in ny head
and tingled ny body with its
unf aniliarity .
Then, for no reason, it got up and
walked away as quietly as a sneaker
walking on narshnallows .
I will just go on being until the feel-
ing cones again.
I suppose then I will again sit and
wonder just where the feeling cane
KIDS, COWS AND CATTLE
One bains' - sunner evening, not too long
ago, I sat at the picnic table with ny
boyfriend, Hoppy, in his backyard.
Oh we laughed and played, giggled and
frolicked, as young lovers will do. Then
Hoppy held ne in his arns . . . the arns
that would shelter ■, protect, and comfort
ne for the rest of our lives. Our playful-
ness diminished as we started to discuss
After an hour of debating, we decided
on having nine children ; then we went on . to
discuss names. . . oh the hours just seen-
ed to fly by.
While we were discussing honeynoon
plans, I glinpsed sonething out of the
corner of ny eye. I turned to see what it
was and noticed the fence that kept the
cows herded together had broken . . . the
cows were stampeding toward us!
"Hoppy," I screaned, "the cows are
stampeding toward us!" I got up and tried
to run away, but Hoppy grabbed ny arm and
swung me back onto the picnic table. The
cows were still heading straight for us.
They were almost upon us! I looked at
Hoppy, 'frightened and confused.
"Those," Hoppy screamed back at me,
"are NOT cows! They are cattle!"
Before I could correct myself, the
cattle had arrived. They slowed their
pace and iproceeded to surround the pic-
nic table. One came right up to me,
stood face to face, and seamed to eval-
uate me. Suddenly, its teeth, covered
with cud, grabbed ny shirt and pulled
me down to the ground. It stood on top
of ne, its right front hoof on my chest,
the left one on my stomach. Its cud
slobbered out of its mouth and dripped
onto my face. I was repulsed, to say
"Hoppy," I pleaded, "this here cattle
is crushing me! Do something, please!"
"You bitch," Hoppy said slowly and
quietly in utter (or should I say udder?)
contempt. "That is not a cattle, that
is a cow."
This provoked me to cry out in pain
and anguish, "Well, will you just get
the mother off of ne!"
Hoppy said with a sneer as he started
to lead the cow away, "Well, at least
you know she ' s ny nother . "
It was then that I knew that we
should cut down on the amount of child-
ren we had planned on.
SUCH IS LIFE
Tom Madison had just cone home from
serving in the Korean War. He had been
overseas for a year, when it was dis-
covered he had a heart condition, after
a routine examination. It was good to
be home with family and friends. Home
cooking never tasted so good. As he
Such Is Life, continued
enjoyed the conforts of home, he thou'-ht
about the amy buddies that -were left
behind. Thinking to himself, "It's tine
to put array life behind me. I nust get
on with ray life."
As the days passed, his thoughts
turned to the opposite sex. Dressed in a
new outfit, Ton decided to visit a sin-
gles bar. There were many pretty, unes-
corted girls to choose fron, but one in
particular caught Ton's eye. She was an
attractive, tall, slender girl. Her na-e
Mary had a nice sense of hunor and
she was also an excellent dancer. Ton
loved to dance. "Mary and I have a lot in
commotf," thought Ton. "We should ?et
along quite nicely together." And get
along they did ! ! !
At first they dated each other casual-
ly. As tine went on, the dates became
nore frequent. Soon Ton asked Mary to go
steady. Ton found hinself ailing in love
with Mary. The next thing he knew, the
two of then were at the jewelers, picking
out wedding ri^igs.
Mary had not told Ton everything
about her past. Now was the tine for Ton
to learn that she had been married and was
now divorced. A son was born and was li-
ving with her parents* Her ex-husband
had been committed to an insane asylum.
It seems Mary's forner husband had a prob-
lem, with alcohol. Everytine Jin got
drunk, Mary received a beating. The sit-
uation went fron bad to worse. Finally,
Jin's parents and Mary sought legal and
medical assistance. A determination was
made that Jin was raidically unfit to live
in society as a nornal person. The courts
ordered bin incarcerated to a nental insti-
tution for rehabilitation. Shortly there-
after, Mars'" was granted a divorce and cus-
tody of the son, Andy.
Tom was not disturbed when learning
about Mary's past. However, Mrs. Madison
was very upset when told the story. Tom's
mother was against the narriage. She
could forsee troutlo ahead for the young
couple. "Mon, once you get to know Mary,
your views will change. I may be the
first one in the family to marry a divorc-
ed person, but that does not mean our mar-
riage will not work," reasoned Ton.
The Christmas holiday season was
approaching. Mrs. Madison invited Mary to
share Christmas dinner with the family.
Mary accepted the invitation graciously,
thinking to herself, "I wonder if I will
nake a favorable impression on the Madison
Christmas Day .arrived Ton went to
Mary's apartment to pick her up. The door
opened, and there to his surprise stood
a little four-year-old boy. His eyes
glisten- - and he had a big Smile on his
face. He was dressed in °* three-piece
suit, white shirt with French cuffs, cuff
links, and a red bow tie. Ton looked
down and said, "Hi, little nan." Andy
somewhat annoyed, looked ux> at Ton,
confident in his manner and replied,
"I'n not a little nan. I'n Andy."
Ton and Mary shared a good laugh with
each other. Then the three of then
journeyed back to Ton's hone for dinner
with the Madison Family.
The dinner was sumptuous, complete
with turkey and all of the trimmings.
Dessert and coffee followed. The en-
tire Madison family was impressed with
Mary and her son, Andy. Ton was pleas-
ed that things had gone so well. Mary
and Andy also liked Ton's family.
No wedding date had been set. Being
a romantic, Mary wanted a June wed-
ding. Ton had been thinking about a
Fall wedding. A compromise was made':
the w-dding would be July 15th.
Wedding plans for Ton and Mary were
proceeding nicely. They would be mar-
ried in Mary's church. Ton would wear
a navy tuxedo and Mary would wear a
light blue, street-length, silk dress.
Andy would be the ring -bearer, and Ton's
niece would be the flower girl. Tom's
brother, Len was chosen as best man.
Mary had no sisters , so she chose her
best girlfriend, Michelle, to be her
matron of honor. All details were com-
pleted, and the happy young couple im-
patiently waited for their wedding day
Meantime, back at the Madison house-
hold, Mr. Madison was getting ready to
go on a weekend fishing trip with his
son, Len. The fishing gear had been
ass2mbled. Mrs. Madison had paeked
his suitcase very carefully, making sure
he had v:am clothing for tli- chilly
nights and early mornings. Mr. Madison
remembered a few chores that needed
attention. He was on his way to the base-
ment, when suddenly Mrs. Madison heard
her husband call for help. She rr.n to
him and there, sitting on the basement
steps, was her semi-conscious husband,
A quick call to the fire department
brought the ambulance in record time-
At the hospital, the Madison family
learned their loved one had suffered
a stroke. The prognosis was not -^ood.
"He may not live through the night,"
uttered their family Doctor, Dr. Ves-
sel*. The Madison family took turns at
the bedside of Mr. Madison. Six hours
later, Mr. Madison passed on to the
We must observe a proper mourning
period," Tom said to Mary. "Our mar-
riage will have to be postponed."
"I understand," replied Mary.
Mary thought that three months would
be an appropriate waiting period,
Visions of an October wedding danced in
her head. "Tom is going to have a
Fall wedding after all," she mused.
Months passed without a definite
Such Is Lifa, continued
welding date being set. Ton was reluctant
to talk about it and this puzzled Mary.
Eve&tually, she mistered up the courage
to ask Ton. "Why? My nother is alone.
She still grieves for ny father. I can't
leave her now. She needs ne," answered
Ton. .Mary knew if she objected, it
would appear she was not sympathetic to
Mrs. Madison's situation. "Okay, we will
put our weeding plans on the back burner
for awhile," said Mary.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned
into months. Thanksgiving and Christnas
cane and went. Valentine's Day massed.
Still, Ton made no nention of another
wedding date. Mary was beginning to won-
der to herself if there would be a welding.
Mother's Day was approaching. "I
think it would be nice to take Mom out for
dinner on Mothers Day. What do you think,
Mary," asked Ton. Mary joyfully agreed.
"Splendid- I think that is a good idea."
The second Sunday in May was to be
nore eventful than Ton and Mary had ima-
gined. Mrs. Madison surprised then as
the dinner was ending. "When are you
two young people going to set a new
wedding date?" Ton smiled at Mary sayin;
"How does July 15th sound, Babe? fv
After all, that was their original late
exactly one year ago. Mary was so
stunned, words failed her. She could
only smile back at Tom and nod her head
in the affirmative.
Again wedding plans were set in no-
tion. The date was changed to July
l6th, which was on a Saturday. It was
decided all cf the details \rculd be the
same as originally planned.
Happily, Ton and Mary were married at
last. Their wedding day is now a beau-
tiful nenory. When July l'rth rolls
around, Ton and Mars'" will celebrate
their 28th wedding anniversary.
Ah, such is life!!!
THE LITERARY SNOB
She knows the right authors and titles.
And quotes the latest best sellers and
classics. And folks, she can tell you
the plots of the plays on Broadway,
— who won the statues and who stayed away.
It's Rose' with the roa a t beef; sauterne
But, it's beer with the bratwurst, and you'll
never find out that she reads the
Enquirer and yellow sheet news.
She knows titles and authors.
She reads the reviews.
Like a skipping stone
that skins and sprays,
she gently cabrioles, jetes,
then softly landing, •pirouettes
f ron pastel-temr>ered pink palettes ,
to Degas' nonochrone ballet-
wine arabesque and rose plie*.
IF YOU WERE DEAD
If I cane hone and you were dead,
But . . .
The merry-go-round would slow its dizzy
Gone, tonorrow's expectant hope-dread,
Helpless goodbyes resolved,
Unfulfilled need answered,
All doubts and holy horrors put aside
Straining desire quieted,
Cut loose the gossaner, binding threads,
Tine unshared once nore ny own,
Stress relieved; (once grieve) set free,
No failure to behold,
. . .Yes:
I would be sad,
But nore at peace,
If you were dead.
Pacing the roons
I skulk into the bathroon
Peer into the nirror-— a rhyne
I sneer — at a reflection
Hands flat on countertop
I lean closer,
Nose to nose; eyes to eyes
I stare unblinking
Mesnerized, enchanted, perplexed
Eyes show no knowledge — instinct
Bestial — like the wolf
Eyes of Satan? Of a god?
Eyes surely once possessed by a child —
Visions withdraw and I snile
Humorous? Possibly perversely
I ponder, grasping
Nothing, and an satisfied.
Fornless, fleeting gestures to a stranger.
Slapping footfalls on tireless flcr ~s —
I have /rone
Pacini the roons.
As I walked "by the window, he whis^-
pered ny name. "Cone inside/' he beckoned.
I pressed ny ncse up against the glass and
peered inside. Then, I saw hin lying on
a piece of delicate white china. He winked
his one eye at ne and the jelly, ooooooh,
the delicious, delectable, delightful,
rlancing jelly oozed out and scribbled ny
nans on the beautiful saucer.
I rushed inside. "I want one just
like hin," and I pointed to the window
Outside, I qui^kl?/ opened the bar - .
I picked hin up and just as the ey% was
about to wink, I held hin th ny nouth,
and the jelly, ooooooh, the delicious,
delectable, delightful, dancing jelly
oozed into ny nouth and tap-danced
on ny palate. I bit into hin and
his passionate m^ans tinkled ny tongue.
Jeanette L. Gruber
THE FAMILY GATHERING
The usual crowd
sat around the table
telling white lies
The faked laughter
while being fed
but if looks could kill
they'd all be dead.
Such lucrative jobs
s uch wonderful lives
really a cluster
of frauds in disguise.
Hurrican of snow
Whitening the world's cover
Howling in the night
hundreds of people around
yet standing alone
Twenty-one thousand nurders in r.nly
have assaulted your eyes and ears.
They grow tougher, thicker . . .
a ripped-out eyeball, blood curdling
on ths street /ratine,
the piercing look well-suited to the
gnarly knife handled in
I cringe, shiver, retch, no calluses to
You watch, blind to Irana horror,
calluses to feeling in place.
"Pain! Don't you see it! Can't you
The screen has inundated j^ou with its
The calluses are in place. "Pain!"
is nere drana.
"Will your callused senses believe you
next tine ,
when it's ny brother who lays at the
Turn the ^ther way and pass.
Calluses cure caring.
Large. It was large and roony. Large,
to fit Hanson's head. It was nade of
beaver fur, f;lt-like, only nore durable.
The stetson style had been nodified, per-
sonalized. It wasn't just a hat anymore,
it was his hat. The two ridges on top had
been flattened out so the indentation be-
tween then was less pronounced. Encircling
the hat was a wide band, beaded with tur-
quoise and mother-of-pearl in an Indian
design. It was said, in shispers, that
the band was an old Indian nedicine band,
and there was power in it . . . rrreat
power. Fitted into the right side of
the hat, nestled in the band, were
three small feathers. An eagle, a crow,
and a vulture. They said he had
caught then, t) lucked a single feather
and released each. But then they said
a lot of things a^cut Hanson.
The hat lay on the bed. Lifeless
yet' alive sonehow. Sonet hing that was
such a vital part of such a nan almost
seened to take on that nan's person'-..
It becane an extension of hin. The
life of the nan gave life to the object.
Hanson's Hat, continued
He would not be the same nan without it,
and without it he saened inconplete. The
hat radiated the strength and self-assur-
ance that was indicative of its owner.
Full of living, "both good and "bad. R=ady
to meet all challenges and face all quests.
The hat now stood empty, without purpose.
How is it sone have such power and
others seen so powerless? Is it by ac-
cident? Does it happen by some divine
notion? Do the gods touch one and shun
others? Such people . . . such power . .
Hanson. Was it a blessing or a curse?
Was it by choice or preordination? Did
Hanson choose his life, or was his path
already narked for bin? One could not say
for sura. Yet, knowing Hanson, one
knew . . .
The brin of the hat turned down front
and back. The front pulled low, so that
even when it was cocked back on the head,
it still covered the eyes. There was a
distance created. Shading. Shadows.
Unapproachable. Maybe that added to the
mystique. Chosen or not, the effect was
still the sane — nystery.
Was he aware? Sure he nust be. Peo-
ple felt things, even Hanson. Assuredly
he nust know. How could he not know?
They knew. They all knew. He was differ-
ent. As if he'd cone from another tine.
A sorcerer. A powerful, willful wizard.
Tempter and tenpting. There was the real
danger. Certainly he knew, yet he chose
to change nothing, to nodify nothing, to
be what he was. Without question . . .
true to his nature. Fulfilling his des-
They talked about hin, huddled to-
gether closely, as if needing protection,
even now. Yes, they talked about hin. He
had been the center of their world
since he'd arrived. Where had he cone
fron? No one knew and none dared to ask.
They were afraid. Paralyzed. Innobile.
Until one day sonehow the winds of fate
had changed. Seeing their chancje . , .
they took action. Seizing the nonent they
thought would never cone. Knowing that
one nistake would bring destruction on
all. Yat they acted. Were they right?
Did Hanson represent the evil they felt
so strongly? Or was it only their own
reflections of returning off this nan?
Hard. Strong. Unyielding. Was it pos-
sible to see into this man, or was the
image only an echo reversing the signals
Hanson's hat sat there on the bed
waiting, as they also waited. Not know-
ing. Fearing. Unable to change the
course to which they were now unalterably
committed. Was fear of the unknown great-
er than the clear and present danger that
gripped then now? No, the act, the fear
would go on in the ordered steps inscrib-
ed by the gods. There was no turning
They gathered, watching, waiting,
barely breathing. Others near . . .
not alone. There was strength in num-
bers. Each ready to do their part.
Each knowing they could change the out-
cone. They had the power bestowed
upon then. For the first tine, theirs
was the potency, the will. Or was it?
What was power if not used? What
became of it? Did it stay nearby, or
was it gone? Could it be summoned to
do the bidding? Would one of then use
it, or would the fear that gnawed at
their bellies and slit^red v* their
spines, would that fear rule. Demand.
Each was called and in turn did
as the one before him. Some thought
they would feel lighter, relieved of
their granite burden, but there was no
relief. 0nlv a shifting of the op-
pressive weight from their hands to
their hearts. Stone. Cold. Gruesome.
Some tried to sumnon up thsir inner
voice. That feeling they were sure
would come. The conviction that they
were acting out of righteousness, not
fear. But after their part in the ex-
ploit was done, there was no virtuous
elation, just shame and nockery. Still
none -ared to act, to change the design.
Each waited, not knowing whether
the others before hin had done the5r
deed or passed without releasingtheir
encumbrance. Even afterward, no one
knew whether the devastation would be
complete or fall sh^rt . Would the sen-
tence be carried out?
Here was the last, the last per-
son. Had it been decided? Would it.
be changed? Moving slowly toward his
fate, he lowered his hand into the
bucket and withdrew it. Taking steps
backward, trying to blend into the crowd
he watched. They watched. Soon they
would know. The bucket was freed and
for a second all breathing stopped.
All novement ceased . . . purgatory.
Then it moved, slowly. It dipped down
on its journey to infinity. The d e -
cision was made. Irrevocably. It was
Hanson was ^one, destroyed. Inside
behind the bar s , on the bed, Hanson's
hat sat waiting, as if in anticipation
of that which would be no more. They
feared it as they had feared Hanson.
So there it lay until he was plotted
in the' earth. They were safe now. He
They burned it. Three days later
they burned Hanson's bat.
ALWAYS AMONG US
in a state institution
for sixteen years,
cones hone on Fridays,
stays til Sunday night.
Sandy-haired hoy says,
"Mocma left long ago — -
went to Las Vegas,
He sniles, enpty-eyed.
Father , one-legged ,
gets Ground on crutches,
lives on welfare,
waits for weekends
to be with his son.
After they kiss goodbye,
he asks God,
"Who * 3 gonna love him
when I'n gone?"
Robert "Gap" Webb
I AINT GOT THE TIME
I aint got the tine
I aint got the nergy
To be wasting ny valuable tine
On sone unnecessary poor butt jive
I ciean, it doesn't nake any sense
For ne to get involved
The last tine I did, I lost
More than I gained
The conflicting problems I encountered
Are still far fron being solved
in need of an innediate solution.
My intelligence was so abused
I thought of being mentally nained
So you see, I just aint got the tine
I'n steadily trying to keep a dine
Even ny woman cracked on ne
"If you want the honey
Give up the money
If you want to play
You've got to pay
If you want to be with ne
You've got to finance the fee
I'll check you out later, cause I
Just aint got the tine.
September 29, 1982 Hew York City,
On this day I was told, not so po-
litely (Judy had a horrible way with
words ) , to leave the Goldberg ' s humble
upper East-side condo. "Go out and do
SOMETHING for about three or four
hours." The Goldbergs were having
conpany. I guess they did not want their
guests to know they were housing a
Protestant in their daughter's befroon.
It was a Jewish holiday of sons sort,
so I took that opportunity to check out
a novie I'd been planning to see — The
World According to Garp.
I had just finished the book a few
days before. I'd been told the movie
nade more sense if you read the novel-
first. I LOVED the book. It proved
to be a great source of inspiration
for writing, and was off-the-wall
enough, to keep ny attention. Finally,
seeing the film fulfilled ny visual
curiosity. I had certain images of
each character. The casting was an
exceptional representation of those
images. The whole two~and-a"'balf imurs
in ny theatre seat were extremely plea-
surable;; well worth the five-spot. But
as I left the theatre, I felt Gar" '-3
"undertoad" approaching .
On the corner, uptown from the
theatre, there were ambulances and
gawking people. Everyone was looking
I've always looked down on people
who enjoy seeing others' miseries.
You know— similar to the kids in the
old neighborhood wanting to follow
the fire trucks. One day I rushed in-
side to tell Mon that I_ was going to
hop on ny bike and follow those big
"No you ' re not . "
"But WHY Mon?!"
"Do you really want to see oth-
ers' problems and nisfortunes?"
I haven't ever wanted to since
then. She made a lon~~-lasting impact.
She also hates being referred to as
"she." Sorry Mon.
Ton Van Horn
Sunshine slowly fades
shadows growing long and thin
black as ink of night
Most nenbers of our legislative branch
spend too little time in their seats or
Most are pork-barreling or special int-
When elected by those who vote
they're sent to Washington, D. C.
and then, they are incongruous.
m MAILBOX TALKS
Write me a letter
I'm hungry as hell.
Stuff me with envelopes
and I'll soon feel well.
Pull my arm up,
open my door.*
Use ©e, people I
What do you think I'm for?
AN ABBREVIATED VISIT WITH AUOTHER HEH30ABE
I died yesterday— again. Passed over
to the other side. Didn't see any bright, .
white light* Didn't hear any heavenly mu-
sic. Mother wasn't "spec tin me."' Father
wasn't "wait in"— only maggots yelling,
?? Hold still, hold still!" So 1 came back
again»-here ? where I can talk to something
mort than bugs and the dark,
I was out in that d©s®rt a long time.
Almost fried be©, and that 8 a a fact. After
while,' though, it got to b© a contest fee-
tw®@n m and the sua— who could beat who—
you know? But wh©& the moon started to
shin© up there in the cool, black sky,
why » « « that was heaven. Y@©« " At night;
the air was so cool, so fresh, so sweet, I
could lick it. Xes. The more I think of
it, the more convinced I am— that was hea-
But the daytime, t the dry, dry throat '
.in the daytime , when the sand sparkles*
And way o£f«~b®eause your eyes play tricks—
the sand shimmers like a great ochre ocean,
lazy tan water rippling ever so slightly*
But you can't get to it. You never reach
it. It feeeps gliding out and away, further
and further. And you know you're not going
to get to it, but you keep trying. You keep
walking, even though your clothes are soaked
with sweat, and you're tired, and you're
baking . . • baking • • •
Your feet burn, your muscles ache. La-
ter on ? when the sun gets high, you take
some clothes off and wipe them across your
skin. But they're as hot as you are, and
there's no comfort. When the thirst gets
really bad, when your lips crack and your
windpipe thickens, you even try to suck
the sweat from your shirt. But you don't
get anything. And you keep moving, not
getting anywhere • . .
Then the sun sets* You in your -
skin, which flames when you touch it :
cause you never should have taken off
your shirt, I don't care how tanned
you are, your hot skin feels a slight
slight— breeze* And that's the begin-
ning of heav®n e The darkfcese • • •
cool and delicious • • . better than
the juiciest pear that ever dribbled
down your chin . • •
But now I'm here* I causs back tt
tell you about the desert, but it seet
to fad®. It fades, .her® in ihe dark-
ness, and I, can hardly remember what
it was like any more* Catch the few,
quick memories now— before I forget
I died yesterday. Yes. But the^
wasn't any light. None. It was dark
■4 » like here* Except, there w&sn-'t
anybody to talk to. It was lonely. E
not like the desert. There, I had son
thing to reach for— even though I was
never going to reach it. I forget whs
it was. I forget ... now.
So, I came back. Here, To you.
Could you, maybe, turn on that 1:.
so I can see what's crawling on my anc
What? The light. It's oprer there soci
place— I forget exactly where.
Itchy . • . itchy. Can't you fin:
the light? Crawly. Could you speak uj
What's that? Eh? Could you speak up-
just a little? Something seems to be i
my ears. Itchy . • . crawly.. Come clc
ser. I can't hear you*
Can't find me in the dark? Folic*
the sound of my voice . . . TRY! Here!
This way J This— errraghl They're in
my — agggh.
Gra • . •
C. L. Weatherford
I've no nore paper in the house.
Writing's turned ne into a grouse.
Friends don't call ne on the phone.
It's better, then I'll be alone.
For shards of paper hear ny words,
Like ancient friends, still deterred.
It hides beneath this ness of nine,
Poetry, in need of rhyne.
THE END OF DEVOTION?
As I near the tree
where we carved our devotion,
the snow reflected sunlight has
blinded ny nind's picture of you.
A tired breeze pronpts our teee
to whistle gently.
As I stand by the edge of the lake,
ny nind crushes its icy covering
and lures its sunner nenories
The sharp caw of a winter bird
distracts ne fron ny thoughts.
Lifting ny head to the crisp, cool air,
I can't renenber what, I was thinking.
Sonething soft and warn brushes against
ny cheek, and it evokes a sob fron
deep inside of ne. With it cones the
reenergence of ny thoughts . . .
If ny nenories cone back, why can't you?
As I sto°d upon the shore
And looked across the sea
I saw a snail dark bottle
Cone floating in toward ne.
I waded out to get it
To see if it contained
A note or sonething foreign
Excitenent was ingrained.
As I twisted off the cork
There was a tell-tale stink
As you've doubtless guessed by now
It was full of India ink.
I looked into the river
To see what I night see,
And the stranges thing I saw.
I saw what looked like ne!
There was a nan with a beard
And grey-green eyes.
No wrinkles he had,
Yet his face seened wise.
He had grey at the tenple,
And a snile on his lips,
As if he knew life
Were at his fingertips.
Not only that
But a tear in his eye.
I saw this grown nan cry.
I took a closer look.
He fell off his bank!
No joy overcane ne
As he unwillingly sank.
pretty, so sweet
jasper and teak •
a r every,
she lies still, quietly
rooting for life.
odds are against this
is there strength enough
to natch our needs
a rise of breast, such
as to ^ear a breathless
I bend to kiss and
whisper hush . . .
. . . hush
Gruesone pain that
Increases with each
Pain talks over the phone, gently,
with soft ■ . nek ;r ->ur. I music. It
infrrms: "If you -■-< t/i work today
terrible thin - s - - nna h«v r ocn tc
your family," and, "Yuur "au -liter
is in Tennessee-. Cone an 1 . *ct
her," and "Carnen died this n«rnin-^-
Then it penetrates.
Pain sits in the big soft Morris c
chair in the living roon, wearing
ny mother's blue wool dress and
emanating the fragrance of the
cologne I gave her for Christinas.
It say s , casually, "Your father
doesn't live here anymore."
Then it pierces.
Pain walks the streets, wearing
denim jeans and jacket, hiding
behind a pleasant boyish snile.
In inquires, innocently, "Does the
bus stop at the next corner?"
Then it violates.
THE DRUMMER'S BAUDS
Freshly shaven heads
And aninal breath
The warrior children
March to the beat of death drums,
The cadence rolls;
The drummer's hands
I LUV FOOD!
I look in the mirror •
and what do I see?
all over me.
The wiggly, jiggly fat
on my thighs
is extremely up;ly
and does not attract guys.
The fat on my butt
has a tendency to wiggle,
and people that look
These lumps, bumps, and bulges
ara driving me insane.
How can I diet
without any pain?
I've tried to diet
but I get hunger attacks
and find myself at McDonalds
eating five Bi^ Macs.
LIKE THE WIND
Like the wind through the trees,
you move, with such ease.
Perfection speaks through every notion
the way you smile
is expressed with such style!
And your eyes speak out every emotion.
You're so near, yet so far —
like the great northern Star
whose light shimmers on
through the darkness.
Though you'll never be mine
I can dream to pass trie and help
soften reality's starkness.
Fears, and other Black Things
hide in dark places ...
Be careful when you open a closet door,
or enter a lightless room . . .
And don't dare leave your arm dangle
over the side of the bed as you sleep .
Panting struggles with deadly sheets
Throttle the pillow lying in
Panic upon waking.
a velvety magenta rose of calm,
a hastily flicked lightswitch
floods a cold room
with waves of "olden light,
causing every reflective object
to glitter responsively —
Succour from fear's doorstep.
THE SUMMER SUN
The summer sun, blazing bright
Seagulls soaring in their flight
Couples walking near the lake
Leaving ffotprints in their wake,
Bathing in the summer heat
Kicking sand between my feet
Hearing children's playful yells
Watching others look for shells.
Sleeping on a golden beach
All my worries out of reach
Waking to the call of friends
Just before the sun's day ends.
III THE MIDST OF PUERTO RICAN VEGETARIANS
Surrounded by 6 white
an adjoining bathroom
to vhon we do not know
dark "blue curtains
and no light "bulbs
in the fixtures
open to the seasons all
only screens for windows
keep the bit^-ng insects out
in addition of all of the above
where it belongs
so we can close the door
on the Puerto Rica 21 vegetarians
Her body was dunped
in a spot where high weeds grew
and choked the grass.
She was found weeks later —
too nuch later to tell who she was-
The cop in charge
named her Princess Doe:
"Jane" was too easy to forget.
the dead girl remained a mystery.
People in the town
thought she should be put . to rest .
They bought a plot
Somebody's princess again.
Robert "Gap" Webb
Ton Van Horn
I knew. I didn't like to think about
it. Charley Brown knew I was aware. My
wife didn't recognize any of the signs
as being meaningful and I declined to
discuss the natter with her. I'd hoped
she'd become a little more tolerant of
his ways. She didn't. I considered ta-
king some vacation tine to spend more
hours with Charley. I didn't.
The visits to the v e t, became more and
more frequent as July became August. His
doctor did everyth x ng possible. However,
by mid-August, Charley's tumor had grown
too large. The insulin shots for his
diabetes were painful for both dog and
master. And Charley Brown's epileptic
seizures seems I more persistent.
Near Labor Day, some very unwelcone
guests can©. Severe and constant thunder
storns "-ade the ir stay well known. For
almost a week, they lingered with manacing
friends — high winds and lightning. The
poor dog had always been afraid of bad
weather. His condition and the severity
of the storms made it all much worse.
On the thrid day of September, it
began to storm about 10 p.m. By midnight,
I had turned on the bedroom light to les-
sen the frightening effect of the uncom-
promising lightning. The loud and con-
stant pelting of wind-blown rain on the
windovs and the deafening explosions
We tend to fear old age
as some sort of disorder that can be
with the proper brand of aspirin
or perhaps a bit of Ben-Gay for the
It does of course pay to adve r tise
One hates the idea of the first gray
a shortness of breath
devastating blows to the ego
indications we are doing
what comes naturally
of thunder were even beginning to cause
me some concern. Charley was totally
incapable of coping. I conjectured
this was God' a way of calling for my
companion. If so, it was cruel.
From ray arms, to the floor, to
the foot of the bed, to an impossible
scramble to hide under the bed . . .
from crying to whimpering, from eyes and
mind glazed with fear, from pain to
fatigue to frustration, from a des-
perate need for attention and comfort
to the instinct to hide or run away,
it was an execrable night of despair.
The deluge hurled unrelentingly.
Finally, at some a.m. , exhausted and
overwhelmed, Charley found sleep. I
The next morning's trip to the
vet was marked by an overpowering si-
lence. Charley Brown's usu-l incessant
Charley Brown, continued
barking was not to be. He was traveling
his last nile in dignity. A twelve-year,
eternal love affair was about to end. I
desperately held back ny tears as I parked
the car. Our eyes net. I think we both
knew this would be our last, precious,
private nonent together. I wanted to tell
hin how sorry I was for every tine I'd
been less than understanding of tolerant.
The dog's 'devotional gaze convinced ne
that he understood. He had always
dreaded kisses but allowed this last one
to reach his ncee.
I fought the inevitable tears through-
out the work day. That night, I fought
My job suffered as all thoughts
were reniniscenses of our joyous years
together. Fron the nonent we net, there
was a nutual adoration. Over the years,
I learned to connunicate without the use
of words. A sinple gesture by Charley
brought ny instant response and vice-
H«ver one for fondling or affection,
he was nonetheless, genuinely and un-
selfishly loving. He helped to ful-
fill ny life. I didn't want to let
hin go. Selfishly, I wanted at least
one nore long walk in the woods with
ny friend. I wanted to tell hin a
nillion things. I wanted to love hin
and be loved by hin.
Septenber 7 was to be Charley
Brown's last day on earth. I had to
nake the call. The doct-r offered his
professional advice: "The best thing
we can do for old Charley Brown is to
put hin to sleep."
My voice cracked as I agreed. ■ I
had to play God.
For several weeks, I walked the
sane paths we'd once taken so gleeful-
ly. Each tine, I cried a little less.
My life will never be the sane. A part
of ne died with Charley Brown.
You left ne here, alone,
so you could start your ascent.
Yau clinbed too fast,
hardly anyone could see you.
I sat for days, weeks, nonths
watching you stunble
take snail spills,
and get hurt.
You kept oh clinbing and
didn't look down at ne.
A few passerbys would
glance at you, be with you, then leave.
I'n still down here, alone,
and it's getting hard to see you,
but I strain ny eyes and
your inage cones to ne.
You're noving *ast — very fast,
and no one is with you n ow.
No one but ne.
You've lost your footage and you're falling
but in your quick descent you think of ne—
w-aiting for you — and ycu know you
You hit the ground and look for ne
but I an not around.
Jennifer Jones .
LOOK AT ME
I an flaming Red,
cold ultranarine Blue,
warn sunwashed Gold,
S-eking a similar wild intensity
in a sullen, grey universe.
Part of ne is on paper
^art of ne stays on your nind
-art of me turns into vapor
Partly cloudy — most of the tine
Part of ne is unending
Part of ne delves into tine
Part of ne is renenbering
What goes on in that part
of ny nind
For ages and ages
and through the torn pages-
Part of me stays on your mind.
Coffee — oh the sweet smell of . .
I think I could actually drink the
stuff all day Ion":. At night — just when
I think I'm fally peacefully asleer>,
a giant Mr. Coffee maker starts brewing.
The tantalizing, rich, Java smells
linger under ny dozing olfacot^sy organ;
whispering, "Awaken, awaken, ny slumber-
ing victim. Come here and taste this
delicious brew-" Of course, I wake up
and drink "the WHOLE THING". Up all
night, I realize what a stupid cunt I
an for taking that stimulant at such a
late hour. POOF! Oh, thank god, it
was just a dream. A whiff of coffee
probably blew in the window f orn the
d iner downstairs .
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
His eyes pierce ne
reading from head
leaving nothing untouched
chameleon in nature
his ey^s adjust to the situation
intelligence and stren :th are seen in hin
why do ny eyes renain open
for him to enter
an I so naive
or only trusting
They watched us
clean their closets,
tossing out useless yesterdays,
burning their flags,
heaping dusty norals t
int- the trash.
Our young ninds
thrashed in cobwebbed corners,
These, we discarded also.
They witched us,
horror creeping through their bones
outrage coursing in their veins .
We tried to talk.
We screaned in. the streets.
if I close then
would he leave
do I want hin to go
for now he is nine.
One day, they listened . . .
one day, a long tine ago —
before we built closets of our
A teening, writhing, sweaty mass
of hunid stench . ...
Loud hunan ignorance swelling to a
in the sc r 'pe of ny sight,
I an sickened and repulsed —
they invade ny space, r^y world . . .
insensate beings, swine, self-fulfilling.
Grunting in self-righteous glo-y,
wallowing in earh others' passionless swe
nouths full of enpty pronises,
Shouting, Wanting, Demanding.
The pulsing, throbbing crowd ningles
with the scenery
of gaudy advert is enents . . .
screaning for attention in chorus:
nelding to foam a horrible kaleidoscope.
In sadness, I an earthbound.
HERE WE ARE AGAIN
Here we are again — flying through the
infinite nunber of air molecules. .Lower
O2 though, on the way to Colorado — hone
hone where all the aninals roan. Forest
& Field & Open Strean. A place where one
can build a drean-city — called DENVER.
Si nuch cenent (you just 10 crazy),
nothing to do (you just get lazy)— layin'
around in a hotel roon.
Ton Van Horn
Wind t.aisils h-jr hair
A collie T- a Earley seat
Linrl li^r owr.ir.
ON MY WIFE
My wife possesses an unusual talent.
I guess we all have one. Sone can juggle
oranges while whistling. Sone can hop
on .one foot while rubbing their head and
patting their stonach. I think her skill
char/oions all. I've wondered often if
I shouldn't inforn Guinnsss,
I'n not sure ny wife's ability is
unique to her. Sone other Person nirht
be capable of the same feat. I, however,
would doubt it. I don't think ny wife
was taught. I don't believe she's read
about it. When we were first narried,
she couldn't or didn't do it. I can't re-
call the exact date it began. I do know
she's been doing it now for several years.
Althought she excels at what she
does, she perfoms only for ne. In -' "-
dition to the difficulty factor, ny wife
On My Wife, continued
must perform only at a precise tine. She
does it only in "bed. Only at night. Hot
every night. Just some. We don't know
what prompts her. She's even performed
for ne in hotels both here and abroad.
None of our children have inherited her
skill. Perhaps, because they're all males.
Can only females do it?
Every night, in bed, my wife initial-
ly lies en her stomach. There is no
force in this universe powei*ful enough
to change this habit. We both tell the
dog goodnight. Next, we say goodnight to
each other. It's at this point I'm some-
times fearful. Will this be one of her
performance nights? Never knowing exact-
ly when it will happen can be brutal.
My wife has never bragged about
it. In fact, she's denied having done the
thing. I know she does it. I have no
documented proof . Only on those nights
it occurs, I wish someone else could be
in our bedroom. 3e there, just to confirm
what my wife is capable of doing. On those
nights, at the exact time I begin to fall
asleep, my wife turns over. Her timing
amazes me. The act of turning one's body
from lying on the stomach to lying on the
back seems rather simple. It probably
is in millions of bedrooms. Nor, should
this basic maneuver require any special
comment. My wife's method does.
She is able to raise her entire body
some twelves inches off the bed. She
then rotates her body remaining supine.
As if she were levitating. Her body
thrust moves the mattress enough to awak-
en me. Usually, there would be no prob-
lem. I should be back to sleep in a mat-
ter of moment s . However, for an intermi-
Each second a forever —
a Faulkner sentencs
now and then a comma,
a teasing breeze
promising the end:
Relief with nightfall
when the songs of cicadas
in the black-leafed trees
blend with the cool, cool dusk . . .
but for now
nable time, my wife can remain suspended
in air. It's as if only one shoe had
dropped. I know she eventually has
to fall. When? This is her coup, ds
grace . She waits until I'm back to the
part where I'm just about asleep.
Her precision is masterful. At that
exact moment, she falls. !Tcw on her
back. Once again, I'm awakened.
As quickly as I can mrke words
from angry thoughts, I begin to scold
her. By my second word, I stop. By
this time, she's always snoring. Her
X^erformance curtails my snorinr* tLic
for hours. I wonder if some night
she'll be capable of reversing the
act. God, I hope not.
triangle points to me
position my smooth stick
between slickened fingers
solid shape disperses
now fifteen equal s;pheres
one by one
into the dark receptacles
of their hiding
'til the lone one remains
now pitted against each
head to head
again he fails
concentration is key
at varying angles
catch the black dropping
into my desired corner
THE BUS RIDE
These seats are so uncomfortable.
I don't think I've ever ridden on a plane,
train, or bus without being uncomfortable.
It wouldn't be half as bad if Mr. Big wasn't
sitting right next to me. Not only is
this guy big, but he smells bad and is
sucking on a cigar that looks like it went
through both wars.
The Bus Ride, continued
Maybe he* 11 get off at the next stop . • •
I hope so 8 Let's see, 1 get off at Green-
castles so asy luck, he'll get off there
I wonder if this guy is some sicko.
He's wearing these gay sunglasses, and
his beady eyes behind the glasses are
darting all over the place. I wonder what
he's thinking* I wonder if he's thinking
what I'b thinking, or if he knows I'm
thinking about him*
Hare got®, I'm dying to hear" his
"So ? uh, wh@r@ you headed to?"
With the highest soprano voice I hat®
ever heard, this guy said* "CJreencastle,
and how about you, little lady?"
I turned , looked away § and said in a
low and uninterested voice* "Greencastle."
What luck. The stench is staying with me
Little Lady? what's your name?"
"Ua, I 5 es Lucy," I said.
"I have 'a' niece Lucy," said the fatty.
"Oh really," X said 9 not really
' "She hasn't ©een m® since she wa;..
about three. 1 should say, 1 haven't
seen her since she was thre--
"Hbbssi, why not?" I aske&«
. . "Weil, she and her saeihei left
Jisssysvilla when she was ireijy young,
and moved to the other side of the
world it's® ems * "
By this time of the conversation,
paid close attention. X couldn't be)
what I was hearing. This fat guy smc
a musty old cigar was my long -lost
"Uaele Blimpola," I said very
,? IiU8y . * « Lu$y, um, Dresdon. 7
that you?" • • ■ • -
"Yes, Uttele « • . it's ■••" As I
talked j I thought to ogrself he. I'd
giv® anything t© get off the? bus at
the ntsst atop and let Uncle El ! spola
stink hisiseif te death ©s that ^assn